Zion Williamson’s record-breaking shoe deal
The 3rd-ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the top-ranked Duke University Blue Devils were set to play each other in one of the biggest games of the year. Among the players were many top recruits who were planning to go into the NBA the following year, including the player about whom everyone has been talking: Zion Williamson.
Williamson’s night was cut a lot shorter than expected when only 31 seconds into the game, Williamson dribbled to the top of the key, fell awkwardly, and was slow to get up.
Not only was the injury a rarity, it was accompanied by major consequences for the shoe industry. After the fall, Williamson took off his Nike shoe, which had ripped, and limped back to the sideline. That shoe contributed to Williamson being out for a month late in the season.
This was bad news for Nike, but better news for every other shoe brand on the market. This was the player who could get a $100 million deal right out of college.
“It’s going to be the biggest bidding war ever done,” Sonny Vaccaro, a former marketing executive for Nike, Adidas and Reebok, said.
What all of the high-end shoe brands have been wondering is how much money a deal with Williamson is really worth. After watching his performance during March Madness, many believe that he is worth all of the money he is going to be paid and then some.
“Zion is the most unique athlete I’ve coached at Duke,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski commented in an interview with ESPN’s First Take.
Williamson is projected to be the top overall pick in this year’s draft, according to ESPN’s Draft Board, but not not all the fans are buying into the instant hype he brought into the college level.
“It’s still hard to say because the NBA is so different from college, but once he gets drafted and the summer league, it’ll be easier to tell,” Jacob Sloan, a fan of college basketball and the NBA, said.
Williamson’s decision of which shoe brand to join will make headlines sometime in the next few weeks, which means that this war for the next possible face of the NBA has just begun.
By Alexander Pimentel