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Pelicans' Zion Williamson, Jordan Brand Agree to Reported 7-Year Shoe Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2019

Zion Williamson, of the Duke University Basketball team, arrives at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Photo credit: B/R Kicks

New Orleans Pelicans rookie superstar Zion Williamson agreed to a shoe contract with Jordan Brand on Tuesday.

B/R Kicks @brkicks

Breaking: @Zionwilliamson signs multiyear deal with Jordan Brand. https://t.co/6OkcYTYMvE

Zion Williamson @Zionwilliamson

Let’s Dance #JUMPMAN https://t.co/Ra0mq4OwYQ

The deal is for seven years, according to Adam Zagoria of the New York Times.

ESPN's Nick DePaula provided statements from Williamson and Charlotte Hornets principal owner Michael Jordan about the deal:

Nick DePaula @NickDePaula

Zion Williamson: “I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family. Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league & having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had & continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to."

Nick DePaula @NickDePaula

Michael Jordan: “Zion’s incredible determination, character and play are inspiring. He’s an essential part of the new talent that will help lead the brand into the future. He told us he would ‘shock the world,’ and asked us to believe him. We do."

Williamson had better offers with more money, according to Darren Rovell of the Action Network, but it was "his dream" to wear the Jordan Brand logo.

Many of the top shoe brands in the world have been courting Williamson since he declared his intention to leave Duke after one season and enter the NBA draft.

The Pels earned the right to select Williamson first overall when they won the draft lottery, but Williamson was essentially a free agent on the shoe market who had the opportunity to weigh his options before making a decision.

By signing with Jordan Brand, Williamson joins an impressive group of NBA players that includes Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul and Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler.

Williamson was at the center of some shoe controversy during his only season at Duke, and many wondered if it would impact his decision.

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During the first minute of a loss to North Carolina in February, Zion's Nike shoe essentially exploded, and he suffered a sprained knee:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Zion's shoe: destroyed 😳 https://t.co/LqQ2te0Jay

The injury caused him to miss some time, but he returned to lead the Blue Devils to the ACC tournament title and to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.

Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game and shot 68.0 percent from the field en route to being named the Naismith College Player of the Year.

While Williamson did not sign directly with Nike, Jordan Brand is a Nike subsidiary, which suggests the February incident didn't dissuade him during negotiations.

Zion is being heralded as the NBA's next big thing, and if he lives up to his immense promise in New Orleans, Jordan Brand may have landed the biggest shoe deal signee since Nike inked LeBron James in 2003.

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