Zion Williamson suing to terminate marketing contract, alleging state law violation

2019 Naismith Awards Brunch
Zion Williamson swept all the major player-of-the-year awards this past college basketball season.
(Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)

Former Duke star Zion Williamson, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the June 20 NBA draft, is suing to terminate his contract with a sports marketing company, saying the agency violated the state’s sports agent law.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro says the star player should be allowed to void his contract with Florida-based Prime Sports Marketing LLC.

Prime Sports President Gina Ford, named as a defendant along with her company, did not return an email seeking comment.

Williamson announced April 15 he was leaving Duke after one season to enter the NBA draft. According to the lawsuit, the five-year contract he signed five days later with Prime Sports did not contain notice that he would lose his college eligibility upon signing, and did not contain a disclaimer allowing him 14 days to cancel. Both are required under the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act.


According to the lawsuit, Ford met with Williamson in North Carolina but neither she nor Prime Sports are registered as athlete agents in the state.

The lawsuit includes a copy of a May 31 letter Williamson sent to Ford to terminate the contract and a June 2 letter sent to Ford by Williamson’s attorney, Jeffrey S. Klein, arguing the contract was void. Attorney Joann Squillace, who represents Ford, responded that the “foreseeable injuries, losses, damages and harm caused” would likely exceed $100 million.

Klein said in a statement that Prime Sports “blatantly violated the North Carolina statute specifically designed to protect student athletes” and that the agency’s “continued threats against Mr. Williamson made necessary the filing of this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit asks the court to declare the contract void and prevent Prime Sports from acting on behalf of Williamson. It was filed a week before the draft, and Williamson is expected to be the No. 1 overall selection by the New Orleans Pelicans.


In news around the NBA:

— Three-time All-Star point guard Kemba Walker says he’d be willing to work with the Hornets and take less than the “supermax” $221 million deal he is eligible to receive to re-sign with Charlotte. Walker says: “Yeah, why not? I would take less, for sure.” Walker says the Hornets remain his “first priority,” but he plans to meet with other interested teams before making a decision on his future. NBA free agency begins June 30.

— A person with knowledge of the situation says Goran Dragic has told the Miami Heat that he is exercising his $19.2 million option for next season. Dragic was limited to 36 games for the Heat last season, averaging 13.7 points and 4.8 assists — which are also the same averages for his 11-year career with Miami, Phoenix and Houston. The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because neither Dragic nor the team had publicly announced the move.

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