Zion Williamson signed a shoe deal with the Jordan Brand Tuesday, according to a tweet from Shams Charania of The Athletic. Up until this week, the Pelicans’ No. 1 NBA Draft pick was deliberating between endorsements between Nike and Puma, eventually choosing the former.
Williamson is amongst a who’s who in the league with this sponsorship, as he joins Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul and Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler on the Jordan Brand.
The contract is for seven years, $75 million per 247Sports. That means that Nike is paying the former Duke Blue Devils forward approximately $10.7 million per year.
According to The Source, the deal was expected to be north of $100 million. Back in February, analysts such as ESPN’s Dan Le Batard suggested that Nike would “make good” with Williamson with a deal around $80 million.
This came shortly after the former Duke Blue Devil’s shoe burst open in a rivalry matchup against North Carolina. This led to an extended absence due to a sprained knee. Williamson reached out to Nike at the time for an explanation:
“I talked to Nike to see what went wrong, what happened with the shoe and I take pride in that,” he said per Bleacher Report. “My shoes have been a successful shoe not only in college but in the NBA. A lot of people have been in them, a lot of people have been wearing them. So I don’t necessarily know, but it’s never happened to my knowledge before. So that’s tough.”
That bridge has clearly been mended over the last few months. The Jordan Brand’s twitter account has already released a video celebrating the news.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family,” says Williamson in a statement with the brand. “Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league and having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had and continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to, and I really can’t express how happy and excited I am for this journey.”
He is also part of the Jordan/Nike family with fellow rookie Rui Hachimura, Celtics guard Jayson Tatum WNBA players Asia Durr and Kia Nurse and NFL rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game and shot 68.0 percent from the field en route to being named the Naismith College Player of the Year. He sat all but nine minutes of the NBA Summer League after sustaining another minor knee injury.
He is expected to make a full recovery for the NBA preseason in September. Off the court, he is already making a considerable financial impact on the league per longtime shoe executive Sonny Vaccaro.
“He is going to have an opportunity to be the face of every company and every major corporation,” he said in April according to USA Today. “He is the most marketable person I’ve seen.”