Andrea Ayton is Phoenix Suns’ star DeAndre Ayton’s mother. Lawyer Michael Avenatti has said that Andrea received cash payments from Nike. In a tweet on March 26, the day after Avenatti was accused of attempting to extort Nike for more than $20 million by federal authorities, the lawyer said, “Ask DeAndre Ayton and Nike about the cash payments to his mother and others. Nike’s attempt at diversion and cover-up will fail miserably once prosecutors realize they have been played by Nike and their lawyers at Boies. This reaches the highest levels of Nike.” Boies is likely a reference to David Boies of high-profile legal firm Boise, Schiller & Flexner.
In a message before the tweet that mentioned DeAndre Ayton’s mother, Avenatti said, “Contrary to Nike’s claims yesterday, they have NOT been cooperating with investigators for over a year. Unless you count lying in response to subpoenas and withholding documents as “cooperating.” They are trying to divert attention from their own crimes.” That tweet included a link to a September 2017 CBS Sports article regarding a federal investigation into college basketball corruption.
DeAndre Ayon, a center and power forward with the Phoenix Suns, spent one-year playing with the Arizona Wildcats between 2017 and 2018.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. In His Youth in the Bahamas, DeAndre Worked Part-Time Jobs in Order to Pay for a Basketball Training Camp
DeAndre was raised in the Bahamas by Andrea and his stepfather, Alvin, who worked as a plumber. Andrea is of Jamaican descent, moving to the Bahamas in her youth. DeAndre’s birth father was originally from Nigeria. In 2018, DeAndre told Bleacher Report that in his youth, he and his four siblings would join their father on jobs when they weren’t in school. For this, the kids were paid $20 per day. DeAndre said that after his first week working with his father, he had made $100, which was the fee charged by Jeff Rodgers basketball training camp.
The camp was considered the premier basketball camp in the Bahamas. DeAndre said he had to decide to spend the money on candy or basketball saying, “Everybody was pressuring me to play basketball, so I was like, “OK, I’ll do it.” But I easily could have eaten $100 worth of candy.” By the end of his first week at the camp, Andrea was called in to discuss her son’s future in basketball with the camp’s coaches.
2. Andrea Moved With Her Son to Arizona When He Attended High School at Phoenix Hillcrest Prep
Just before the NBA draft in 2018, Andrea told the Arizona Daily Sun that she had moved with her son and his siblings, Tian, Serenity and Horace, to Phoenix where her son saw out his high school years.
For the first two years of high school, DeAndre had attended Balboa City School in San Diego, alone, even though the school did not have a basketball program until he was a sophomore, according to Bleacher Report. Shortly afterward, Andrea said that she wasn’t happy with the lack of contact she had with her son while he was in the U.S. and she was in the Bahamas. Eventually, Andrea decided to move to Arizona and transfer her son to Phoenix Hillcrest Prep in the state.
3. Andrea Said She Liked Living in Arizona Because of the Sunshine & Because it Was Cheaper
Andrea told the Arizona Daily Sun about her joy that her son had been drafted by the Phoenix Suns, with the family already settled in the area thanks to his time at Hill Crest Prep and the University of Arizona. Andrea said she would continue to split her time between the Bahamas and Arizona saying, “Yes, it’s different. But it’s sunshine. It’s sunshine, and I love sunshine. I love blue skies. It’s peaceful. It’s not like New York. It’s easy to live. And it’s cheaper.” That piece also mentioned that DeAndre had just signed an $18 million endorsement from Puma.
Following the signing of his rookie contract, DeAndre told ESPN that his first major purchase was a house for his mother. He said, “Her reaction was priceless. Obviously, you can’t repay her for what she’s done for you, but I’m trying. Trying to keep her as comfortable as possible, stress-free.” The network reported that Andrea’s home was located close to the home of DeAndre’s teammate, Devin Booker.
4. Andrea Is a Regular Feature on Her Son’s Instagram Page
Andrea is a regular feature on her son’s Instagram page. In a November 2018 photo, DeAndre posted a photo with his mother and the caption, “My #1 ❤️.” A few months earlier, DeAndre posted a photo showing him and his mother about board a private jet with the caption, “We’re blessed.”
DeAndre told ABC Phoenix in 2016, “My mom and I are very close. Whatever happens, I always go to her and ask her questions on how to handle things.”
5. Arizona Wildcats Coach Sean Miller Had Been Accused of Discussing a Payment With an Agent Over DeAndre
ESPN reported in February 2018 that the FBI had recordings of Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller discussing a payment to DeAndre that would ensure he would declare for the University of Arizona.
At the time, DeAndre was the number high school basketball prospect in the country. The ESPN story did not mention if the payment was ever made. Miller was talking to agent Christian Dawkins and former Wildcats assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson on the recording. At the time, Arizona was competing with Kansas and Kentucky for DeAndre.
The Arizona Daily Star reported in October 2018 that an ex-Adidas shoe consultant had told federal prosecutors that he had given payments to DeAndre’s family in order to ensure he picked a school sponsored by Adidas. That allegation was denied by DeAndre’s family.