Former agent: Zion Williamson received illegal benefits from Duke

Prime Sports Marketing President Gina Ford alleges that former client Zion Williamson and his parents received “money, benefits, favors or other things of value” to steer him to Duke University and to lace up Nike and/or Adidas shoes and wear the sports apparel giants’ gear, according to published reports.

Attorney Daniel Wallach, a legal analyst for The Athletic, published court documents on Sunday revealing the provocative allegations.

“Each of Ford’s 11 claims, per Wallach release, relate to Williamson’s knowledge that his mother, Sharonda Sampson, and stepfather, Lee Anderson, received and/or demanded money and benefits to influence where he would play college basketball,” Sporting News reported on the same day.

Sports Illustrated reported that the Request For Admission was filed last week in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

Zion Williamson makes big splash

The Pelicans selected Zion Williamson with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after his banner freshman season at Duke University.

He missed the start of the 2019-20 NBA season following right knee surgery in October. Zion made his dynamic debut in January. He’s averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games.

Agency representation

The Duke star signed a five-year contract with Prime Sports Marketing in April 2019.

Weeks later, Zion Williamson filed a lawsuit to kill the deal.

The reason?

He claimed it was “void under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act,” Duke Chronicle reported. Other news reports cited the fact that Prime Sports Marketing contract was void because Ford wasn’t a registered basketball agent in North Carolina or Florida. Moreover, it’s not a National Basketball Players Association-certified agency.

As a result of Williamson’s lawsuit, Ford sued him on June 20, 2019, seeking $100 million in damages. Ford’s lawsuit alleges Williamson “breached a contract that he willingly signed,” the newspaper reported.

In between those big decisions, Zion Williamson inked a contract with Creative Artists Agency on May 30, 2019.

Seeking millions from Zion

What is Wallach’s opinion of the lawsuit against Zion Williamson?

“These discovery requests seem more like a veiled threat (“settle or else!”) than legit request to obtain relevant info to bolster claims,” Wallach tweeted. “Timing also questionable since FL case is currently on hold against Zion Williamson while he appeals denial of personal jurisdiction motion.”

Furthermore, Wallach stated via Twitter: “MY TAKE: This is a legal Hail-Mary to pressure Zion Williamson (thru Duke) to settle the case and pay the agent millions…”

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