During Zion Williamson‘s brief NBA career with the New Orleans Pelicans, he’s dealt with a lingering legal matter. Williamson is at the center of a lawsuit off the court that surfaced in the months before the Pelicans selected him in the 2019 NBA draft. With that in mind, the rising star can now rest easy with the $100 million situation finally addressed.
Zion Williamson dealing with lingering lawsuit
Months before Zion Williamson began his NBA career with the Pelicans, a sticky legal matter arose.
Williamson chose to file a lawsuit against Prime Sports Marketing, LLC., and it’s president Gina Ford for allegedly misleading him into a contract. He voiced that he believed that he took the appropriate steps to void the deal
However, Ford’s agency chose to file a counter $100 million lawsuit against Williamson based on the belief the 20-year-old breached the contract that he willingly signed. Ford also voiced that she believes she helped him get endorsement deals with Beats by Dre, Puma, T-Mobile, General Mills, EA Sports, and Mercedes Benz.
Things hit a rough patch as an affidavit filed to the U.S. District Court in North Carolina by Donald Kriess showed that he assisted Slavko Duric’s Maximum Management, a small marketing group located in Canada. According to Yahoo Sports, the document read that Duric asked Kreiss to get a commitment from Williamson through his stepdad Lee Anderson before he went to Duke that showed a $400,000 payment.
Williamson’s legal team responded that it was an attempt to smear the Pelicans star’s image. With that said, there is finally a decision made on the entire case.
Zion Williamson just narrowly avoid $100 million headache
The last several months have remained stressful for Zion Williamson with a pending legal matter off the court that could significantly financially impact him.
According to ESPN, the matter finally reached a resolution in his favor as a federal judge in North Carolina granted him a partial judgment in the $100 million lawsuit case against Ford and her agency.
U.S. District Court Judge Loretta C. Biggs has reportedly voided the agreement Williamson signed with Prime Sports Marking in the days he declared for the 2019 NBA draft. All ruling came about based on the agency not meeting the requirements of North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act.
ESPN reported that the ruling came down due to Williamson still being a student-athlete at Duke when he engaged with the agency and had not been declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA. Meanwhile, Ford wasn’t a certified agent in North Carolina, and the contract did not include the warnings under the law.
Williamson and his family also voiced to Ford that they wanted to end their contract with the agency. The court also denied the agency’s motion that Williamson wasn’t eligible under NCAA rules because his family took improper benefits.
With the entire situation resolved through the court system, the 20-year-old can finally move forward.
Focus shifts toward NBA career
Zion Williamson received the biggest win of his brief professional basketball career that will allow him to entirely focus on his craft.
Williamson has had a strong showing to begin the 2020-21 season behind his tremendous offensive production. There are still lingering outside concerns with his health, but he has continued to show an improved commitment to weight management.
In 12 games played, Williamson is averaging 23.4 points on 59.1% shooting from the floor and 8.0 rebounds. He has posted at least 20 points in each of his first seven games played in January.
New Orleans will provide him every opportunity to take the next leap this season. The franchise has constructed a young core group that has shown much promise for a bright future ahead.