In the last couple of years, Zion Williamson has risen to the top as one of the most exciting players to watch. That has seen Williamson translate that into tremendous early success in his NBA career with the New Orleans Pelicans. However, that has also seen him get engulfed into a $100 million lawsuit that has been an ongoing case over the last several months with the former agency that briefly represented him. It has now seen another hurdle come about from the entire situation.
Zion Williamson dealing with lawsuit
It has been a rough last few months for Zion Williamson as he deals with a $100 million lawsuit that stems from the end of his brief collegiate career.
It all began from a lawsuit that came about last June after he sued Prime Sports Marketing, LLC. and its president Gina Ford, in North Carolina for alleging that he was misled into an agency deal. Williamson stated that he believes appropriate steps were taken on his behalf to void the contract he had inked with the agency.
He filed the lawsuit with the hopes of garnering a court ruling that would support his claim. The 20-year-old had voided the contract as he decided to join Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on May 30 to have them work out his deal with the Pelicans and any other endorsement and marketing opportunities.
Williamson informed Ford and Prime Sports of his decision the following day. That led to the countersuit of $100 million that was on the basis that the Pelicans’ rookie had breached his contract that he willingly signed. In that lawsuit, Ford alleges that he helped him garner deals with EA Sports along with Mercedes Benz, Beats by Dre, T-Mobile, Puma, and General Mills.
Zion Williamson’s $100 million lawsuit hits rough patch
Things took another intriguing turn in the case as another aspect of the trial has put Zion Williamson in a tight spot. It was revealed on Thursday in an affidavit filed to the U.S. District Court in North Carolina by a named Donald Kreiss.
He is claiming to have assisted Slavko Duric’s Maximum Management, a small marketing group located in Canada. The document reads that Duric had asked for Kreiss’ help to get a commitment from Williamson through his stepdad Lee Anderson before he went to Duke that saw him pay a $400,000 payment. (H/T Yahoo Sports)
“It was further my understanding that to secure the verbal commitment from Lee Anderson (who was acting on behalf of Zion Williamson and the Zion Williamson family) to have Zion sign with ‘MMG,’ Lee Anderson had demanded, and Duric paid, some $400,000 to Lee Anderson and Chubby Wells,” Kreiss wrote.
“I understood that the $400,000 to Lee Anderson and Chubby Wells was paid in the manner directed by Lee Anderson. My understanding is that Lee Anderson requested the money be wired to a bank in South Carolina, shortly after Zion started school at Duke (and that some may have been in October of 2018).”
The significance of those allegations would mean if his family took that payment, he wouldn’t have made him ineligible to play collegiate basketball. It didn’t take long for Williamson’s team to issue a response.
Zion Williamson’s legal team sees it as a smear campaign
It was only a matter of time before Zion Williamson’s legal team would issue a strong response to these new documents presented.
His attorney, Jeffrey S. Klein, voiced that the claims were “frivolous” while stating they were attempting to smear his client’s image.
“The alleged “agreements” and driver’s license attached to these papers are fraudulent – and neither Mr. Williamson nor his family know these individuals nor had any dealings with them. We had previously alerted Ms. Ford’s lawyers to both this fact and that we had previously reported the documents to law enforcement as forgeries, but they chose to go ahead with another frivolous filing anyway. This is a desperate and irresponsible attempt to smear Mr. Williamson at the very time he has the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional basketball.”
That will push forth an entirely new part of the case for Williamson’s team to move past with more documentation that could be quite damning against him. There should much more to come on this front in the coming days.