UPDATE (July 24): Zion Williamson’s contract includes a 7-year deal worth $75 million, Forbes reports.
The wait is over. Zion Williamson has signed a shoe deal.
The NBA rookie and former Duke Blue Devils star announced to his 3.9 million Instagram followers today that he is now part of the Jordan Brand family. The New Orleans Pelicans baller revealed the deal with a short animated video captioned, “Let’s Dance #Jumpman.” The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In a statement from Jordan Brand, Williamson said, “I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family. 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.”
NBA icon Michael Jordan added, “Zion’s incredible determination, character and play are inspiring. He’s an essential part of the new talent that will help lead the brand into the future. He told us he would ‘shock the world,’ and asked us to believe him. We do.”
Williamson will join an already stacked roster of NBA stars signed by Jordan Brand including Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets, Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.
The baller reportedly signed a 7-year deal worth $75 million, according to Forbes. Reports say the athlete received larger offers from Jordan Brand competitors but was willing to take less money in order to work with Jordan, his favorite player.
Fans of Williamson and basketball sneakers have been impatiently waiting news of the brand he would sign with since he declared for the NBA Draft. Since then, there has been speculation of him signing with several companies such as Nike (the label he wore during his college days), Puma and China-based athletic shoe standout Anta.
During NBA Summer League action, Williamson was spotted in Nike and Puma sneakers, however, industry insiders believed that served as no indication that the baller would sign with either label.
“I don’t think what he wore in the Summer League has anything to do with who he signs with. The decision will be all about the money,” The NPD Group Inc. senior sports industry analyst Matt Powell told FN. “I still believe one of the Chinese brands will be a contender. The Chinese brands want to take back market share they lost to Nike and Adidas.”
Prior to the 2019 NBA Draft, shoe industry veteran Sonny Vaccaro told FN that he thought Williamson made a mistake not signing a deal before the draft. He also stated being drafted by New Orleans, a small market team, would give more leverage to the brand on contract negotiations than the baller.
“He’s [likely] going to a place that’s going to be hard to maximize everything,” Vaccaro said. “The onus should have been on the buyers and now it’s on the seller. They’re still going to get a lot of money, but if I’m a shoe company I’m not the beggar now, you put [Williamson] back on his heels, which wouldn’t have happened if a deal [was] done beforehand.”
Now that Williamson has signed with Jordan Brand, fans have something new to speculate about: whether or not the Pelican will get a signature shoe.
Below, watch behind-the-scenes action of NBA star Carmelo Anthony’s FN cover shoot.
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