Nike's Jordan Brand inks rising star Zion to shoe deal


LOS ANGLES, USA – NBA No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson has inked a multiyear shoe deal with Nike affiliated Jordan Brand, the emerging star and the company said Tuesday, July 23.

The announcement comes 5 months after Williamson missed a string of Duke University games after he suffered a sprained right knee when his Nike shoe blew apart during contest against arch rivals North Carolina.

"I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family," said Williamson, who was chosen first overall in the June draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.

"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, and I really can't express how happy and excited I am for this journey."

The deal, whose terms were not announced, comes after Williamson spent months contemplating offers from rival manufacturers.

It made headlines when he sported Puma shoes at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas with celebrity website TMZ reporting Puma was a "major contender" to ink the coveted youngster.

Jordan Brand – which grew out of NBA icon Michael Jordan's long relationship with Nike – confirmed the signing.

Jordan himself, a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls who now owns the Charlotte Hornets, lauded Williamson's "incredible determination, character and play."

"He's an essential part of the new talent that will help lead the brand into the future," Jordan said. "He told us he would 'shock the world,' and asked us to believe him. We do." –