Report: Zion Williamson Filing Against Former Agent Alleges Early Recruitment

Jenna West
Sports Illustrated

Attorneys for Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson filed additional amendments to a lawsuit seeking a court declaration that a contract he signed with a marketing company in April is null and void, according to ESPN.

The amendments were filed in the U.S. District Court in North Carolina by lawyer Jeffrey Klein on Wednesday. They include details of alleged violations of North Carolina laws by Florida-based Prime Sports Marketing and company president Gina Ford. The complaint alleges Prime Sports and Ford began recruiting Williamson as early as January 2019, when he was still playing at Duke, reports ESPN. Prime Sports and Ford were not registered in North Carolina or with the NBA.

Williamson signed a marketing deal with Ford and the company five days after announcing he would declare for the 2019 NBA draft. The deal included a clause stating that it couldn't be terminated for five years. On May 31, Williamson's family approached Ford and Prime Sports to explain that it was ending the agreement. However, the agency threatened to sue for damages in excess of $100 million. A lawsuit was filed against Prime Sports on June 13 to enforce the termination of an agreement between the two sides on the basis of the deal being unlawful under North Carolina law.

According to the original lawsuit, the agreement between Williamson and Prime Sports was considered unlawful under North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act because the firm is not certified by the NBA or a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida. Also, the agreement did not contain a notice in boldface type and capital letters which says the player is losing his eligibility as a student-athlete by signing it, which is required by the UAAA.

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