Zion Williamson was the top draft pick in the 2019 NBA draft and is a foward for the New Orleans Pelicans.
His rookie season was delayed due to injury and he has just recently begun his NBA career. In addition to focusing on his basketball games, he is also involved in a legal battle with his former representative in both state and federal court.
In June 2019, Williamson sued Gina Ford, the president of the Miami-based Prime Sports Marketing, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Ford represented Williamson for only five weeks in April-May 2019 in negotiations with companies for endorsement deals, including Burger King, Puma and 2K Sports. At the end of May, Williamson ended his relationship with Ford without her reaching any deals and he signed with Creative Artists Agency, one of the biggest marketing and management agencies in the world.
Williamson believes he owes no compensation to Ford. Ford disagrees. Williamson argues that his contract does not warn him, in writing, about the NCAA eligibility impact on the signing player, which is a requirement under the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agent Act, and as a result, is unenforceable. At the time he signed the contract, he had already declared for the NBA draft by the time, but had five weeks to opt out of the draft and return to Duke. He forfeited that right by signing with Prime Sports. Williamson eventually sued Ford and Ford countersued Williamson, along with Creative Artists Agency for more than $100 million. She argues that he improperly terminated the contract without cause.
This case is proceeding before Judge David Miller in Miami-Dade County.