Zion Williamson has made a decision on his shoe deal, and Jumpman has landed the jump man.
It was announced Tuesday that Jordan Brand won the Zion sweepstakes, signing this year's top overall pick to a multiyear sponsorship deal. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the agreement extends five years, making Williamson's shoe deal with the Jordan Brand the richest in NBA history for a rookie.
The terms of the deal hadn't previously been announced, but the early reported terms indicate that it's a massively lucrative one, which comes as no surprise. According to one report, the endorsement deal was originally around seven years and $75 million. Assuming that's true, that would mean that Williamson's shoe deal with Nike easily surpasses $100 million. LeBron James' seven-year, $87 million entry deal from Nike in 2003 had been the previous record holder.
What makes the situation even more impressive is that Williamson had the opportunity to earn more money from other competitors, but ultimately settled on the Jordan Brand for the opportunity of wearing the logo of his favorite player.
Sources say Zion Williamson had offers bigger than the Jordan deal. Left money on the table for his dream of wearing the logo of his favorite player.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 23, 2019
Williamson, 19, comes into the NBA with a huge amount of hype, so much so that the bidding war for his shoe deal has been a topic of discussion for quite some time. Zion's shoe loyalty became a huge storyline this past year when the then-Duke star saw his Nike sneaker break less than one minute into a February game against arch-rival North Carolina -- the most anticipated matchup of the season. That shoe malfunction left Zion injured and out of action for about a month.
Nike apologized for the incident and worked to design stronger and more supportive sneakers for Williamson, and apparently they succeeded.
He's signing with Jordan, which falls under the Nike umbrella.
"I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family," Williamson said in a press release. "Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league and having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had and continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to, and I really can't express how happy and excited I am for this journey."
It will probably be sooner rather than later when Jordan gets to work on a signature shoe for Zion, as well as countless other merchandising options. Not only is Williamson considered a potential generational talent but he's also extremely well-liked among fans, so the marketability factor there is huge.
Clearly, the Pelicans weren't the only team to hit the lottery by landing Zion this summer.