Zion Williamson Shoe Deal: ‘Biggest Bidding War Ever’, Says Former Nike Exec

Zion Williamson Shoe Deal

Getty Zion Williamson of the Duke Blue Devils is in line to sign one of the biggest rookie shoe deals in NBA history.

After a freshman season that sent the nation into a frenzy, Zion Williamson is finally hitting the open market and ready to command a massive shoe deal. Despite an Elite Eight loss to Michigan State, Duke’s Zion Williamson remains, by far, the top prospect heading into the 2019 NBA Draft.

Being a once in a generation type talent, Williamson looks to command one of, if not the largest rookie shoe deal in NBA history. LeBron James still holds the record for the biggest rookie shoe deal in NBA history with a staggering $87 million guaranteed from Nike for the high school phenom.

Given the fact that James inked his rookie shoe deal with Nike over 15 years ago, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect Williamson to command a much higher price. In fact, legendary Nike Exec Sonny Vaccaro (aka the guy who signed Michael Jordan) said, “In my lifetime, I think it’s going to be the biggest bidding war ever done.”

Zion Williamson Shoe Deal: Seven Companies Courting Superstar

Why Nike might be at a disadvantage in Zion Williamson’s upcoming shoe deal | The JumpShoe expert Nick DePaula joins Rachel Nichols, Brian Windhorst and Tracy McGrady on The Jump to talk about all things sneakers in the NBA, from (0:00) Windhorst's story on LeBron James choosing Nike over Adidas and Reebok out of high school; (1:10) Zion Williamson being recruited by seven brands as the 2019 NBA draft approaches,…2019-04-04T21:30:00.000Z

While initially, ESPN’s Nick DePaulo reported that six different companies were courting the Duke star, he announced today on ESPN’s ‘The Jump’ that a seventh company had joined the arms race. Already rumored to be in the running were Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, New Balance, Puma, and Anta. However, DePaulo announced that another (unnamed) Chinese shoe company had likely entered the mix.

More importantly, DePaulo claimed to have sources saying that one of the companies was willing to go as high as $10 million per year for the services of the Duke star. With an average annual value in that ballpark, breaking past LeBron’s legendary $87 million guaranteed rookie deal actually becomes a very reasonable possibility.

While most players typically get something around four to five years on their rookie shoe deal, elite players can expect something more along the lines of a seven-year deal (i.e. Kevin Durant & LeBron James).

Zion Williamson Shoe Video: Duke Star Busts Nike PG 2.5

Having around 70% of NBA players wearing their shoes, Nike has established a dominance over the sneaker game in the NBA. As can be expected, Nike is putting the full-court press on the Duke star in order to bring him onto the Nike Team.

However, Zion Williamson experienced his most notorious moment while wearing Nikes when he infamously blew out a pair of Nike PG 2.5’s in a nationally televised game against arch-rival UNC.

What Zion Williamson's injury means for Duke, Coach K speaks on broken shoe | College BasketballNot even a minute into one of college basketball's most anticipated games of the season between North Carolina and Duke, freshman phenom Zion Williamson goes down in a way not many have ever seen before. Williamson stopped on a dime and his shoe fell apart before either team scored a point, contorting his knee and…2019-02-21T05:46:07.000Z

While Duke is a Nike school and Nike would actually help design custom shoes for Williamson, the incident leaves a slight blemish on the resume of the basketball world’s biggest shoe company and keeps the door open for debate as far as where Zion will land.

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