Presumptive No. 1 NBA Draft pick Zion Williamson being sued for $100 million over alleged contract breach
Williamson, the likely No. 1 pick of Thursday's draft, is in the midst of an ongoing legal dispute with a marketing company
Just hours before Zion Williamson hears his name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, the Duke star has found himself in the midst of another legal battle.
According to the Associated Press, Williamson, who recently signed with with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for representation, is being sued for $100 million by Prime Sports Marketing LLC, a marketing company he signed with after leaving Duke and subsequently dumped a month later.
Williamson filed a preemptive suit against Prime Sports Marketing LLC earlier this month alleging the contract he signed was unlawful in North Carolina. The suit filed by the marketing company, which according to the AP was filed on Wednesday, is a response to that alleging he breached contract by leaving after one month instead of fulfilling the five-year term of the contract. It also alleges CAA, which now represents him, interfered in the process. The $100 million sought by Prime Sports is what the company claims is punitive damages against Williamson, CAA and two other CAA employees.
In Williamson's initial suit against the company he signed with and ultimately left, he alleges the contract he signed did not contain language required by law in the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act. By signing it (and with Gina Ford, the president of the company), Williamson effectively ended his amateur career because Ford is not an NBPA-certified agent.
Under new NCAA legislation that took place this season, student-athletes can declare for the NBA Draft, sign with an NBPA- certified agent and still return to school so long as they file the paperwork to return by the NBA's deadline: 10 days after the NBA combine. Though Williamson was likely never going to return to Duke, the fact that the contract, as he alleges, did not allow him an out to do so could allow for his request for the contract he signed to be declared null and void.
As a freshman at Duke last season, Williamson separated himself as the clear-cut No. 1 prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft class by averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game for the Blue Devils, who earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
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