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With NBA draft approaching, Zion Williamson suing his former marketing agency

Steve Wiseman, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

Former Duke basketball player Zion Williamson filed suit against Miami marketing company Prime Sports in a North Carolina federal court Thursday, saying the company should terminate the agreement Williamson signed with it because the contract was in violation of the state's agent laws.

The lawsuit's filing was first reported by ESPN.

According to the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of N.C., Williamson signed a marketing deal with Prime Sports president Gina Ford on April 20. That agreement, to pursue branding and endorsement opportunities on Williamson's behalf, included a clause saying it could not be terminated for five years.

Williamson, expected to be the No. 1 pick in this month's NBA draft, has since signed with CAA Sports for representation in NBA contract negotiations and marketing.

Prime Sports claims Williamson owes $100 million for breaking their agreement.

But Williamson's attorneys say the agreement with Prime Sports is null and void because it wasn't in accordance with N.C.'s Uniform Athlete-Agent Act.

 

They say neither Prime Sports nor Ford were registered agents in North Carolina or with the National Basketball Players Association, the union that represents NBA players.

The state's agents laws also require any agreement to include language stating the athlete is forfeiting his college eligibility by signing the agreement and that the athlete has 14 days to cancel the agreement.

A copy of Williamson's agreement with Prime Sports shows neither of those things are included.

"Prime Sports Marketing's actions towards Mr. Williamson blatantly violated the North Carolina statute specifically designed to protect student athletes," Jeffrey S. Klein, one of Williamson's attorneys, said in the statement. "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."

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