Report: Williamson sues to escape marketing dealReuters | North Carolina | Updated: 14-06-2019 03:51 IST | Created: 14-06-2019 03:47 IST
A week before he likely will be selected No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft, Zion Williamson filed a lawsuit Thursday in an attempt to nullify a marketing agreement he signed on April 20, ESPN reported. The suit, brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, alleges the deal that the former Duke star reached with Gina Ford and Prime Sports Marketing violates North Carolina law.
According to the filing, the contract between the parties included a clause that the deal could not be broken for five years, which Williamson's attorneys maintain is illegal in North Carolina. The lawsuit also calls the Prime Sports contract a violation of North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act, arguing that Prime Sports is not certified by the National Basketball Players Association or an agent that is registered to represent athletes in North Carolina or Florida.
The suit also states that when Williamson told Prime Sports on May 31 that he was canceling the contract, the agency threatened him with a $100 million-plus lawsuit. Williamson later signed a representation and marketing contract with CAA Sports.
Williamson attorney Jeffrey S. Klein issued a statement to ESPN that read: "Prime Sports Marketing's actions towards Mr. Williamson blatantly violated the North Carolina statute specifically designed to protect student athletes. Mr. Williamson properly exercised his rights under the law to void his business dealings with Prime Sports Marketing. Prime Sports Marketing's continued threats against Mr. Williamson made necessary the filing of this lawsuit." The NBA draft is scheduled for June 20, and the New Orleans Pelicans hold the No. 1 overall pick. Williamson is widely expected to be chosen first, whether the Pelicans keep the pick or trade it.