Former Agent Of Zion Williamson Alleges Duke, Nike And Addidas Sent Money And Gifts In College

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Written by Ann Brown
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A former agent of Zion Williamson alleges Duke University, Nike, and Addidas sent money and gifts to Williamson and his family. New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson walks onto the court during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans, Friday, March 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

New Orleans Pelicans player Zion Williamson has been asked to admit his parents received money and gifts from Duke, Nike, and Adidas before he attended the university and became one of its star basketball players.

It all stems from a lawsuit the NBA player is facing from his former agent, Gina Ford of Prime Sports.

In the lawsuit, Ford wants the NBA player to “admit that his mother and stepfather demanded and received gifts, money and other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas and Nike and also from people associated with Duke to influence him to sign with the Blue Devils and to wear Nike or Adidas products,” ESPN reported. 

Williamson played one season at Duke before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft. 

He was the hands-down best player in college basketball during the 2018-19 season—his freshman season. He won ACC and national player of the year, Newsweek reported.

Williamson filed the first lawsuit. He sued Ford and Prime Sports in June 2019 to terminate his marketing agreement with her company. The contract was in violation of North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act because Prime Sports is not certified by the NBA Players Association nor a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida, according to Williamson attorneys.

In turn, Ford and her company Prime Sports Marketing sued Williamson, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and two of its employees. Ford’s suit alleges CAA interfered with Prime Sports’ deal and that he breached their five-year contract. Ford wants $100 million in punitive damages, ESPN reported.

In a court filing with Miami-Dade County, Ford’s attorneys want Williamson to admit 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,” ESPN reported.

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Ford also wants Williamson to admit that Sampson and Anderson demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from Nike and Adidas.

This is not the first time Williamson’s path to Duke has been called into question, the Lexingotn Herald-Ledger reported. Duke announced previously it had conducted a five-month investigation into Williamson’s recruiting and found no NCAA violations.

Some speculate this could all be a ploy by Ford’s attorneys to get Williamson to settle out of court.