The lawsuit filed by Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent, Prime Sports Marketing and its president, Gina Ford, seeking breach-of-contract damages from Zion Williamson and his current representatives is heading to court and it looks like Williamson will have to testify under oath.
Williamson pulled out of an agreement with Prime Sports before he became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Last week, he requested a protective order against an inquiry by his former marketing agent into whether he received illegal benefits to take his talents to the Duke Blue Devils.
This week Williamson got bad news when a Miami judge denied his request for a protective order, ruling that the former Duke standout must answer questions under oath about his college eligibility. Questions about whether he or his family accepted any improper benefits.
Here are some of the questions that Williamson will likely have to answer on the witness stand if this case goes to trial. (One has to wonder if Duke officials are hoping for a settlement?)
In a filing with Miami-Dade County court, Ford’s attorneys asked Williamson to admit that several statements were true, including:
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.
By requesting Williamson admit his family members received illegal benefits while he was an amateur, Ford is likely contending that Williamson was well aware his days as an amateur were over.
Ford is also looking for answers from Williamson, his mother, and stepfather about the house they lived in while he was at the school.
One of my first thoughts is that Ford and Prime Sports Marketing know the answers to the before-mentioned questions. My second thought is that Ms. Ford and Prime Sports may not come out of this looking too good if violations are found while Williamson was their client. My third thought is how will Duke and Coach K come out of this?
The lawsuit against Williamson is seeking $100 million.