Zion Williamson, the former number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, left Duke University after playing for the Blue Devils for only one collegiate season. While his decision to forgo additional years of eligibility was based solely on his inherit talent and ability to make an impact in professional basketball, the prospect that he could have been suspended can’t presently be ignored, given the most recent claims by Williamson’s former marketing agency, Prime Sports.
According to an ongoing lawsuit by Prime Sports and their founder, Gina Ford, Williamson and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) interfered with Prime Sports’ deal with the basketball star and the contract that had been in the works. The lawsuit is seeking $100 million in punitive damages. Perhaps one of the biggest bombshells from the case, though, is the request by Prime Sports for Williamson to admit that his parents received monetary gifts not only from Duke University, but also potential sponsors Nike and Adidas, prior to his enrollment with the North Carolina school.
In the court filing in Miami-Dade County, Ford’s attorneys made several requests including that Sharonda Sampson, Williamson’s mother, and Lee Anderson, his stepfather ‘demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to attend Duke University to play basketball’, as well as, ‘demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons on behalf of Nike (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to attend Duke University to play basketball’ and ‘demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to wear Adidas shoes and to influence [Williamson] to attend a college that endorsed Adidas shoes’.
While these accusations are certainly damning, they’re not at all shocking, as both brands have come under intense scrutiny amid the large scandal that revealed countless athletes that were paid, directly violating NCAA regulations. A number of investigations and lawsuits are currently underway looking into the systemic corruption of college basketball and student-athletes receiving impermissible benefits from outside sources. Massive developments are expected from these cases, potentially exposing what could be the underground mechanism of athlete recruitment tactics. Do you think that Zion Williamson’s parents demanded a pay out? How widespread is this problem? Let us know in the comment sections below!