Duke forward Zion Williamson is seen prior to the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery at the Hilton Chicago.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro says the star player should be allowed to void his contract with Florida-based Prime Sports Marketing LLC. It was filed a week before the draft, and Williamson is expected to be the No. 1 overall selection by the New Orleans Pelicans. According to the lawsuit, Ford's company deceived Williamson into consenting to forfeit his college eligibility and a clause that prevented termination for at least five years. However, a little over one month later, Williamson and his family informed Prime Sports that they were ending the agreement, and have since signed on with CAA Sports.
The agreement between Williamson and Prime Sports is considered unlawful under North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act because the firm is not certified by the National Basketball Players Association or a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida.
"Prime Sports Marketing's actions towards Mr. Williamson blatantly violated the North Carolina statute specifically created to protect student athletes", Jeffrey S. Klein, one of Williamson's attorneys, said in the statement.
On May 30, CAA Sports announced it had signed Williamson. Attorney Joann Squillace, who represents Ford, responded that the "foreseeable injuries, losses, damages and harm caused" would likely exceed $100 million. In a letter, Prime Sports said it had already presented Williamson with "several multi-million dollar endorsements/opportunities". Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL's Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of SC athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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