The marketing agency Zion Williamson left shortly before beginning his NBA career is suing him for $100 million and levying serious allegations about compensation he received as an amateur athlete, which would have deemed him ineligible to play for Duke.
On Thursday, an affidavit signed by a man named Donald Kreiss, who purportedly worked as a middleman between Maximum Management Group and Williamson, alleged Williamson received $400,000 in exchange for a verbal commitment to sign with the Canadian firm.
The plaintiff, Williamson's former marketing agent Gina Ford of Prime Marketing Sports, is attempting to prove Williamson was ineligible to play NCAA basketball and therefore unable to explain breaking his contract with her company by pointing to a North Carolina law protecting amateur athletes. In other words, she claims Williamson forfeited his amateur status by accepting money.
“It was further my understanding that to secure the verbal commitment from Lee Anderson [acting on behalf of Zion Williamson and the Williamson family] to have Zion sign with ‘MMG,’ Lee Anderson had demanded, and Duric paid, some $400,000 to Lee Anderson and Chubby Wells," wrote Kreiss in the legal document.
NEW: Donald Kreiss affidavit offered by Gina Ford claims that Zion Williamson agreed to pay Slavko Duric between $7-10 million to relinquish exclusive marketing rights in favor of CAA, conditioned on him keeping the $400K loan a “secret” and “shredding” all records of both Ks. pic.twitter.com/6UpLHaTF8V— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) July 9, 2020
Williamson's attorney denied the affidavit claim to The Athletic on Thursday and noted the ID attached to Williamson in the filing did not match up with his measurements.
“This is a desperate and irresponsible attempt to smear Mr. Williamson at the very time he has the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional basketball,” said attorney Jeffrey S. Klein.
This is the “Letter of Declatation” that Zion Williamson and his stepfather supposedly signed in Dec. 2019 acknowledging the $400K loan made by Slavko Duric in Oct. 2018 (when still enrolled in Duke), along with his driver’s license for authentication.— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) July 9, 2020
Real or fake?
You decide. pic.twitter.com/lVcKvzxgV4