Zion Williamson is making headlines away from the basketball court just days before the 2019 NBA Draft. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Duke phenom and likely No. 1 pick is suing a Florida marketing company after Williamson terminated the agreement between both parties.
Williamson had signed a marketing deal with Prime Sports back in April and terminated the agreement on May 31. From the report:
According to the suit filed in federal court in North Carolina on Thursday, Williamson signed a marketing deal with Gina Ford and Prime Sports on April 20, five days after he had declared his intention to enter the NBA draft.
That agreement included a clause that it could not be terminated for five years. Williamson’s family told Ford and Prime Sports on May 31 that it was ending the agreement. The agency responded by saying that if Williamson terminated the deal, they would sue for damages in excess of $100 million.
Wojnarowski also reports that, according to the suit, the agreement was deemed “unlawful” in the state of North Carolina because Prime Sports “not certified by the National Basketball Players Association or a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida.”
One of Williamson’s attorneys, Jeffrey S. Klein, weighed in one his client’s decision.
“Prime Sports Marketing’s actions towards Mr. Williamson blatantly violated the North Carolina statute specifically designed to protect student athletes,” Klein told ESPN. “Mr. Williamson properly exercised his rights under the law to void his business dealings with Prime Sports Marketing. Prime Sports Marketing’s continued threats against Mr. Williamson made necessary the filing of this lawsuit.”
Williamson is widely expected to be picked first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in next Thursday’s NBA Draft. The star big man put averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks while shooting 68.0 percent from the field during his lone college season.
The Duke standout is expected to be one of two Duke players to go in the top three picks of the draft with RJ Barrett looking likely to land with the New York Knicks at No. 3.