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Monday, 11 May 2020

Pelicans star Zion Williamson asked in $100million lawsuit to admit he and his family 'took money and gifts from Adidas, Nike and Duke University while he was being recruited in 2017'

A legal filing by Zion Williamson's former agency requests that the New Orleans Pelicans star admit that his mother and stepfather demanded and received money, gifts and other illegal benefits from Adidas, Nike and Duke during a recruitment that led to his signing with the Blue Devils.
Gina Ford of Prime Sports Marketing filed the claims in Miami-Dade County, according to Daniel Wallach of Wallach Legal LLC on Sunday. Her statements suggest Sharonda Sampson, Williams' mother, and Lee Anderson, his stepfather, regularly sought 'economic benefits' while Williamson mulled which college to attend.
On the day of the draft, June 20, Ford sued Williamson in the state of Florida, seeking $100 million in damages. 
Williamson chose to play for Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski. Williamson played the 2018-19 season at the school before being the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
Williamson signed a five-year agreement with Ford's agency in April of 2019 but later informed Prime Sports he would be terminating the deal on May 31, claiming the contract was illegal under North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Williamson signed a deal with Creative Artists Agency on May 30, approximately three weeks prior to the 2019 NBA Draft.

Zion Williamson pictured alongside his mother, Sharonda Sampson, at the 2019 NBA Draft
Zion Williamson pictured alongside his mother, Sharonda Sampson, at the 2019 NBA Draft
Gina Ford (pictured) of Prime Sports Marketing filed the claims in Miami-Dade County, according to Daniel Wallach of Wallach Legal LLC on Sunday. On the day of the draft, June 20, Ford sued Williamson in the state of Florida, seeking $100 million in damages
Gina Ford suggested Lee Anderson, Williamson's stepfather (pictured) regularly sought 'economic benefits' while Williamson mulled which college to attend
Gina Ford (left) of Prime Sports Marketing filed the claims in Miami-Dade County, according to Daniel Wallach of Wallach Legal LLC on Sunday. Her statements suggest Sharonda Sampson, Williams' mother, and Lee Anderson (right), his stepfather, regularly sought 'economic benefits' while Williamson mulled which college to attend

The latest legal maneuver seeks Williamson to admit several statements are true, including the following:
  • Admit that you knew that Sharonda Sampson demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend Duke University to play basketball.
  • Admit that you knew that Lee Anderson demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend Duke University to play basketball.
  • Admit that you knew that Sharonda Sampson demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons on behalf of Nike (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend Duke University to play basketball.
  • Admit that before you became a student at Duke University, you knew that Lee Anderson demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to wear Adidas shoes.
  • Admit that before you became a student at Duke University, you knew that Sharonda Sampson demanded and received gifts, money, contract(s), and/or economic benefits from persons on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to wear Adidas shoes.
  • Admit that before you became a student at Duke University, you knew that Lee Anderson demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend a college that endorsed Adidas shoes.
  • Admit that before you became a student at Duke University, you knew that Sharonda Sampson demanded and received gifts and/or other benefits from persons on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence you to attend a college that endorsed Adidas shoes.
  • Admit that before you became a student at Duke, you, or person(s) acting on your behalf (including but not limited to Sharonda Sampson and Lee Anderson) received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons other that NCAA certified agents between 1-1-2014 and 04-14-2019.
  • Admit that before you became a student at Duke, you, or person(s) acting on your behalf (including but not limited to Sharonda Sampson and Lee Anderson) accepted benefits from a NCAA-certified agent that are not expressly permitted by NCAA legislation between 1/14 and 4/19.
The recruitment of Williamson arose during the 2018 college basketball corruption trial when a federal wiretap caught former Adidas consultant Merl Code and Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend (pictured) discussing what it would take for Williamson to select the Jayhawks
In this October 24, 2018, file photo, Merl Code leaves federal court in New York
The recruitment of Williamson arose during the 2018 college basketball corruption trial when a federal wiretap caught former Adidas consultant Merl Code (right) and Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend (left) discussing what it would take for Williamson to select the Jayhawks
In what may be his most memorable moment at Duke, Zion Williamson's Nike busted open during a 2019 game against rival North Carolina. He injured his knee on the play
In what may be his most memorable moment at Duke, Zion Williamson's Nike busted open during a 2019 game against rival North Carolina. He injured his knee on the play 
The recruitment of Williamson arose during the 2018 college basketball corruption trial in New York when a federal wiretap caught former Adidas consultant Merl Code and Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend discussing what it would take for Williamson to select the Jayhawks.
The transcript of the call displayed what Anderson was requesting: 'He's asking for opportunities from an occupational perspective. He's asking for money in the pocket. And he's asking for housing for him and the family.'
Avenatti, best known as porn star Stormy Daniels former attorney, has been locked up since mid-January for attempting to extort Nike for $25 million
Avenatti, best known as porn star Stormy Daniels former attorney, has been locked up since mid-January for attempting to extort Nike for $25 million 
Townsend, according to the call transcript, wasn't turned off by the requests.
'So I've got to just try to work and figure out a way,' Townsend said. 'Because if that's what it takes to get him for 10 months, we're going to have to do it some way.'
Previously celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti claimed that Nike had paid Williamson's mother for 'consulting services' while he was being recruited in 2017.
Avenatti alleged that Nike offered $35,000 to Williams in texts and emails which he claims to have seen.
Duke, which has a longstanding apparel contract with Nike, found no evidence of this agreement in its internal investigation.
Avenatti was convicted in February of attempting to extort $25 million from Nike by threatening to reveal the apparel giant's improper bribery scheme. He now faces up to 42 years in jail.  
Williamson is averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games with the Pelicans. He missed the first three months due to a preseason knee injury before quickly making an impact.

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