Zion Williamson announced via Instagram yesterday that he has signed on to become the newest face of Nike’s Jordan Brand, ending one of the most awaited sneaker sagas in recent history.
Williamson’s deal with Jordan Brand, which will now have him regularly sporting the famous Jumpman logo, is reportedly the richest rookie shoe contract in NBA history. Once exact figures are released, it is expected to exceed even LeBron James who signed with Nike at a record-setting $87 million over seven years back in 2003.
During the 2019-20 season, Williamson will secure $9,757,440 in salary from his rookie-scale contract with New Orleans, meanwhile the former Duke phenom is set to draw north of $10 million annually through his Jordan endorsement alone.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family,” Williamson said. “Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league and having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had and continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to.”
Other derogatory takes have called Williamson’s new deal a shaky investment for the Jordan Brand, declaring Zion as an enormous injury risk.
Williamson wore Nike’s during his time at Duke University, infamously ripping through a pair in February within the first minute of a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. A knee injury from the incident sidelined Zion for nearly a month, and questions surfaced concerning how his relationship with the company would develop after the controversy. However, an underwhelming shoe design in relation to Zion’s needs seemed more responsible for the mishap — not some propensity for injury.
In addition, the reported knee-to-knee contact which cut his Summer League action short moved more toward the idea of an overall health/safety concern rather than a legitimate red flag as the Pelicans released the following statement from Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin:
“However, in an abundance of caution, we have made the determination that he will not appear in game action for the remainder of NBA Summer League. He will continue to take part in training and conditioning with our performance team.”
Regardless of these injury squabbles, Williamson has agreed to stay under the Nike umbrella. Williamson does so while separating himself from the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Paul George to create an open path toward revitalizing the Jordan Brand as its central focus. Air Zion, anyone?
Jayson Tatum, Rui Hachimura, WNBA Players Asia Durr and Kia Nurse, and Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins are also featured in Jordan Brand’s new class this offseason. NBA stars who already represent the brand include Blake Griffin, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
“Zion’s incredible determination, character and play are inspiring,” Michael Jordan said. “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.”