Zion Williamson Alleges Early Recruitment By His Former Agency

Attorneys for Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson contend that a Florida marketing company began recruiting him in January, three months before he declared for the NBA draft, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The charge is included in amendments to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in North Carolina in an attempt to terminate an agreement with Prime Sports Marketing.

The legal action alleges violations of North Carolina sports agent laws and comes in response to a June lawsuit filed in Florida by the company and its president, Gina Ford. She is seeking $100MM from Williamson and his current representatives, Creative Arts Agency, for “breach of contract.”

Williamson contends Ford and Prime Sports lacked proper certification from the NBPA and wasn’t registered in North Carolina. It also alleges fraudulent inducement and violations of North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic shares a portion of the suit that alleges Ford “approached Mr. Williamson’s family before and after basketball games, texted them repeatedly about a potential business relationship, and eventually met with Mr. Williamson and his family to discuss the prospect of entering into a marketing agent agreement.” It also claims she misrepresented her involvement with sprinter Usain Bolt.

This year’s No. 1 selection, Williamson signed a marketing deal with Prime Sports on April 20, five days after declaring for the draft. It included a clause preventing him from terminating the agreement for five years. Williamson’s family announced on May 31 that he was leaving the agency, and he later signed with CAA.

Williamson’s suit contends that Prime Sports isn’t registered to act as an agent in North Carolina or Florida and his agreement doesn’t contain “a conspicuous notice in boldface type in capital letters” informing him that he was forfeiting his college eligibility.

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8 thoughts on “Zion Williamson Alleges Early Recruitment By His Former Agency

  1. Kid is 19 years old, all his hard work is about to pay off, and a bunch of suits are already trying to take his income without what seems like even a halfway legitimate reason for legal remedy. I don’t know anything about how this process works, but all of this just reeks of people trying to take advantage of a young man and his family at a time when they have some major life decisions to make.

    • …..although I guess if his original contract with Prime specifically stated that he stay with the group for 5 years, that’s kind of hard to ignore when you try to sign somewhere else after only a month. I don’t know. Somebody with sports law knowlege help me out here

  2. Skip, Tampa

    Seems to me that both Prime an CAA are not being the greatest of options for the player.
    Just suits sucking up fees.
    State law should have zero bearing on a national association like the NBA. Unless it relates to NCAA rules. Then fine Prime accordingly and impose penalties.
    It’s still a contract and will get settled out of court.
    Maybe it can help set a new standard to help future players avoid this mess.
    No one forced him or his parents to sign anything.
    The Suits will get paid, period.

    • Dodgethis

      Organizations are required to follow the laws of the state’s they operate in, regardless of federal status. The NBA itself has nothing to do with the federal government, as it is a private organization. It’s teams are franchises. No different than McDonald’s. You don’t actually live in America. You live in a state which is a member of republic. States are considered sovereign according to our consitution.

  3. Who_Farted

    I would like to know what compensation he received for signing this contract, and why a prospect with such hype even in high school would sign a marketing contract after is was already obvious he was gunna be the #1 overall pick.

  4. x%sure

    Well people did comment favorably on his appearance on draft day!

    The posturing on this has been ongoing, with the talk raised (planted) that ZWill may want to stay in college another year. It was also noted that he was quite late in signing an agent, presumably because he was trying to overturn the agency signed April 20.

  5. x%sure

    From the Athletic link:

    “Williamson moved to terminate the agreement. . . after hearing from sports contacts questioning Ford’s experience”.

    But Ford in her earlier suit claims that “Williamson and his family began in January 2019 the process of evaluating marketing agents and ultimately contacted her.”
    [I doubt this; they always say that. I’m not even sure that would absolve her of blame under the NC law.]

    “Williamson also alleges Ford told him signing the agreement would not end his college eligibility.”

    Then a poster chimed in with “Zion is not stupid”.
    lol Maybe not but mistakes were made.

    • x%sure

      Meant to say that he wanted out after signing then finding out she lies. I doubt he’s actually worried about early recruiting.

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