Former Agent Alleges Zion Williamson Received Illegal Benefits To Play at Duke, Wear Nike

Zion Williamson's former agent Gina Ford alleges that he was paid to play at Duke University and wear Nike and Adidas sneakers.

Zion Williamson

Image via Getty/Lance King

Zion Williamson

The legal battle between Zion Williamson and his former agent continues to heat up, with new developments alleging that he took illegal benefits to attend Duke University and wear certain sneaker brands.

According to court documents shared earlier today by gaming law and sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach, Williamson's former agent at Prime Sports Marketing, Gina Ford, has served him with requests for admission that he was aware that persons acting on his behalf, namely his mother Sharonda Sampson and stepfather Lee Anderson, "demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits" to influence him to attend Duke University on behalf of Nike or choose an Adidas-sponsored school.

Additionally, Williamson was also served interrogatories asking him to answer under oath whether he received “money, benefits, favors or other things of value” to attend Duke and to wear and/or use Nike and Adidas products according to Wallach. 

Last June, Williamson sued Ford and Prime Sports Marketing, insisting that the contract he had signed with the company is void and illegal under North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agent Act (UAAA). Weeks later, Ford and Prime Sports filed their own complaint against Williamson and his new representatives, CAA, seeking at least $100 million in damages, along with other remedies due to what they believe is a breach of contract.

Williamson played one season at Duke, quickly becoming somewhat of a household name due to his unique athleticism. He was selected with the first overall pick the 2019 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans and was the subject of an intense sneaker brand bidding war, which was eventually won by Nike and its Jordan Brand subsidiary for a reported $75 million over seven years—the richest shoe deal ever signed by a rookie.

The latest development in this legal dispute comes on the heels of news that the NCAA is taking steps to allow collegiate athletes to earn money and possibly sign endorsement deals while in school. As for Williamson and Prime Sports, where things go from here remains to be seen, but it's clear that the dispute between Williamson and Prime Sports is just beginning and only getting messier.