The offseason of New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson is set for a rough start. It looks like the 20-year-old is heading to court again after he was named in a lawsuit against sportswear giant Adidas.
According to a report posted by ESPN, the lawsuit alleges that Adidas illegally compensated Williamson while he was still in high school:
According to the documents, an employee of the apparel maker allegedly funneled money through his company to Williamson’s family while the New Orleans Pelicans star and former Duke All-American was in high school.
The lawsuit was filed by Brian Bowen II who himself was entangled in the federal investigation into the illegal compensation of athletes in college basketball. Bowen signed with Louiseville and later South Carolina, but was never able to play in the NCAA because of his involvement in the investigation.
Bowen is now fighting back and has filed a lawsuit against Christopher Rivas, who he is alleging to be Adidas’ point person behind the funneling of money to the athletes. Bowen’s court documents cite Zion Williamson as one of the athletes Rivas allegedly funneled money to:
In one filing last week, Bowen’s attorneys included records showing $5,000 in transfers from In Your Eye Sports between December 2016 and March 2017 to a bank account held by Williamson’s mother and stepfather.
Additionally, the filing cited 2017 payments to a furniture store account for the Williamsons from a bank account tied to In Your Eye Sports.
This is not the first time the Pelicans star has been linked to illegal compensation during his time as an amateur basketball player. He was also sued by his former marketing agent for allegedly accepting improper financial benefits. Earlier this year, a North Carolina judge ruled in favor of Zion’s camp.