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Zion Williamson’s former marketing agency is accusing his family of getting benefits to make the New Orleans Pelicans player attend the University of Duke. According to court documents published on Sunday, Zion’s mom and stepfather demanded and received gifts, money and more from persons acting on behalf of Adidas and Nike.

Moreover, they add that Duke influenced him to sign with the Blue Devils and to wear Nike or Adidas products. It all started when Zion decided to terminate his marketing deal with Gina Ford and Prime Sports, suing them in June of 2019.

The agency counter-attacked the same month and last week, Ford’s attorneys asked Williamson to admit that his mother and stepfather received benefits for influencing the kid to attend Duke and play basketball with the Blue Devils.

• Sharonda Sampson, Williamson’s mother, and Lee Anderson, his stepfather, “demanded and received gifts and economic benefits from persons acting on behalf of Duke University (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to attend Duke University to play basketball.”

• Sampson and Anderson “demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons on behalf of Nike (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to attend Duke University to play basketball.”

• Sampson and Anderson “demanded and received gifts, money and/or other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas (directly and/or indirectly) to influence [Williamson] to wear Adidas shoes” and to “influence [Williamson] to attend a college that endorsed Adidas shoes.”

• Before becoming a student at Duke, Williamson “or person(s) acting on [his] behalf (including but not limited to Sharonda Sampson and Lee Anderson) accepted benefits from a NCAA-certified agent that are not expressly permitted by the NCAA legislation” between Jan. 1, 2014, and April 14, 2019.


Zion had signed with Prime Sports Marketing after his freshman season in Duke, but just one month later, he decided to sign with another agency. That started the war between the 2019 draft #1 overall pick and the marketing company.