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Zion Williamson’s former agent alleges he received impermissible benefits

Zion Williamson, Pelicans, Duke

New Orleans Pelicans star rookie Zion Williamson is being pressed to admit he received impermissible benefits to attend Duke University.

Williamson’s former agent, Gina Ford of Prime Sports Marketing, alleges the Pelicans star received money and other stipulations to attend Duke for the 2018-19 college basketball season.

Via Garrett Stepien of 247 Sports:

Zion Williamson‘s lawsuit with Prime Sports Marketing’s Gina Ford, his former agent, has taken an interesting twist. According to court papers published early Sunday afternoon by Wallach Legal, LLC founder and gaming law and sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach, Ford served Williamson with requests for admission that he received impermissible benefits to attend Duke and wear or use Nike or choose an Adidas-sponsored school.

Among the 11 bullet points from 5-15, the documents posted by Wallach shows a list of items alleging that he received “money, benefits, favors or others things of value” to sign with the Blue Devils for the 2018-19 college basketball season and wear or use the aforementioned brands. The served requests name Williamson and his mother and stepfather, Sharonda Sampson and Lee Anderson, and Ford is trying to make him say “yes or no” under oath regarding whether or not he accepted the impermissible benefits.

Williamson initially signed with Prime Sports out of school, but he subsequently filed a lawsuit to terminate the partnership.

The Pelicans phenom then signed with Creative Artists Agency ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft, and Prime Sports filed a wrongful termination countersuit.

Duke cleared Williamson of potential wrongdoing in a Nike probe in September, though lawyer Michael Avenatti persisted in his claims that Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski paid players to attend the university.

Perhaps this situation could have been avoided entirely if the NCAA paid players for their likenesses and engagement in sponsorship deals, which is currently being considered for the start of the 2021-22 academic year.