Zion Williamson's Family Was Paid by Adidas in 2016, '17, Court Documents Show

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 5, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MAY 3: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball during the game against the Golden State Warriors on May 3, 2021 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Adidas reportedly made nine payments worth a total of $5,474 to Zion Williamson's family between 2016-17, according to a report from Steve Wiseman of The News & Observer.

Court findings from a civil lawsuit between former college player Brian Bowen and the shoe and apparel company included a letter from attorney William Taft that detailed “potential transfers from (Adidas executive) Chris Rivers that may have been to Lee Anderson, Zion Williamson’s step-father.”

Per that report, Bowen’s attorneys requested interrogatories for Adidas' lawyers to answer, which included questions about Williamson's dealings with the company. Taft responded that Adidas “is aware of the following documents suggesting that certain fund transfers to Mr. Williamson or his family may have occurred.”

Taft noted that "“Rivers may have transferred $3,000 per month to the Williamson family for an unspecified period of time” and “Rivers may have transferred $1,000 to the Williamson family," though he added that “Adidas does not know the specific purpose of these transfers."

In the past, Williamson's former marketing agent Gina Ford accused him of receiving benefits to attend Duke that would have voided his NCAA eligibility for the 2018-19 season, per Wiseman, while attorney Michael Avenatti flat out accused Nike of paying Williamson to attend Duke. 

“The documents and the hard evidence do not lie,” Avenatti said in Sept. 2019. “Zion Williamson was paid to attend Duke.”

Avenatti, however, was convicted for attempting to extort the school to the tune of $25 million and could be sentenced for up to 40 years in prison. To date, no evidence of the payments he claimed were made to Williamson's family by Nike have been presented. 


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