Zion Williamson was just accused of illegally accepting money from Duke and various shoe brands. Did he already ruin his shot at a 'Last Dance'-level legacy?
Things move fast in the NBA. We saw how quickly commissioner Adam Silver shut down the NBA season due to the coronavirus. Now the league’s next golden child, Zion Williamson, could be facing a severe career backlash before he even plays a full 82 games.
The league’s all-time superstar, Michael Jordan, reached his heights not only because of his winning brand but his squeaky clean reputation. As seen in ‘The Last Dance,’ his character wouldn’t be assassinated until he was already the biggest name in sports.
If allegations that Zion Williamson illegally accepted money are true, did he already ruin his shot at becoming an all-time great?
Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent, Gina Ford, accused the former Duke standout of accepting “money, benefits, favors or other things of value” to attend the university and to wear Adidas and/or Nike.
The court documents accuse Zion’s mom (Sharonda Sampson) and stepfather (Lee Anderson) of demanding and receiving gifts from these institutions.
Ford and Zion Williamson were already involved in legal battles. Ford’s agency threatened to sue Williamson if he broke off their arrangement. He did, and now he’s suing Ford’s Prime Sports Marketing.
Some people think these accusations might just be legal pressure for Zion and his team to settle with Ford. Either way, the critics will likely come out blazing.
Michael Jordan is still somehow breaking records. The ongoing documentary series ‘The Last Dance’ has already become the most-viewed ESPN documentary of all-time. It quickly surpassed ‘Tiger King’ as the most in-demand show during the coronavirus pandemic.
While it’s too much to expect Zion Williamson ever to reach those heights of superstardom, he already has a great start.
Some might think that these allegations will stunt his popularity growth, but let’s be honest, it will probably only expand it.
Commentators and analysts will finally have something to think their teeth into during the NBA abyss that is the coronavirus pandemic.
But any expert worth their paycheck will come down firmly on the side of Zion Williamson.
Anyone who would be mad at Zion for taking money from Duke has not done their research. Universities like Duke make millions of dollars every year from talented basketball players that they never pay (legally anyway).
A once-in-a-generation talent like Zion Williamson makes their brand exponentially more valuable. He’s the type of player who sells out arenas wherever he goes, and Duke always gets a cut. Congress has finally started to examine if these schools should pay up.
It’s ridiculous that the NCAA still isn’t paying their players. Zion should take all the money he can get from them and other billion-dollar companies like Nike and Adidas.
Even if true, this controversy will only bring more attention to a talent that deserves it. Zion Williamson may never reach ‘The Last Dance’ levels of celebrity, but he should be able to keep dancing without worrying about this non-issue.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.