5-Star CBB Recruit Mikey Williams, Puma Agree to Multiyear Endorsement Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 28, 2021

NORWALK, CA - JUNE 02: Mikey Williams brings the ball up the court during the Pangos All-American Camp on June 2, 2019 at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Prized basketball prospect Mikey Williams signed a multiyear endorsement contract with Puma on Thursday that will include future campaigns and product launches.

Williams, a 5-star prospect in the 2023 college basketball recruiting class, is one of the most well-known high school athletes in the country with over 3.3 million followers on Instagram.

"I am excited to join the Puma family this early in my basketball journey," Williams said in a press release. "Puma really understands how to mix hoops and culture, two things I am passionate about."

The 17-year-old guard, who plays for Vertical Academy in North Carolina, becomes the youngest member of a Puma Hoops roster that also features NBA stars LaMelo Ball, Deandre Ayton and RJ Barrett and WNBA stars Breanna Stewart and Katie Lou Samuelson, among others.

"Mikey joining our Puma family is exciting news for our brand," Adam Petrick, the company's global director of brand and marketing, said. “His talent on the court and his ability to connect with young athletes and fans alike, will help drive hoops culture forward and inspire the next generation of athletes. He has a bright future ahead of him and we are proud to be a part of his journey."

Williams' first involvement will come as part of Puma's "Not Yet Rated" campaign looking at athletes on the rise who can "help inspire the next generation of youth athletes in a disruptive and unexpected way" through the use of social content.

Rumors about his endorsement deal with Puma emerged in September, when Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the sides were "close" to an agreement on a deal that would capitalize on the new name, image and likeness rights granted to student-athletes.

Most importantly, the new NIL laws ensure Williams will remain eligible to play college basketball if he chooses that route in 2023. He could also opt for a professional path during the gap year before he becomes eligible for the 2024 NBA draft.

An endorsement contract would have previously left an athlete in danger of being declared ineligible by the NCAA. It could still create a conflict if he joins a school with a pre-existing deal with another brand, though:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

5-star, 17-year old basketball star Mikey Williams has signed a multi-year deal with Puma. <br><br>It’s the first big shoe deal done in the NIL era that won’t compromise eligibility. <br><br>Sets up first potential clash if he plays college ball with competing shoe company sponsoring team.

Williams' deal with Puma includes his use of the company's shoes, including the Court Rider, while he finishes his high school playing career.