In a historic deal, Mikey Williams becomes the first ever NBA player to work as both an athlete and as a brand ambassador. The 17-year old has been with Adidas for over six years now but will now be joining forces with Puma after signing on for 8 more seasons.
Mikey Williams, 17, signs historic footwear and apparel deal with Puma. Mikey is the first athlete to sign a shoe and apparel deal with Puma since it acquired adidas in 2014.
4:00 a.m. ET
ESPN’s Nick DePaula
Mikey Williams, a 17-year-old prep phenom, has signed a multi-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma, making him the first American high school basketball player to sign a sneaker deal with a global footwear company, as the amateur basketball landscape continues to evolve in the new NIL era.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Puma family at such an early stage in my basketball career,” Williams said. “Puma knows how to combine hoops and culture, which are two things I am passionate about.”
The 6-foot-2 junior combo guard from Charlotte, North Carolina’s newly founded Vertical Academy is still a few years away from becoming eligible for the NBA draft in 2024. ESPN has him listed as the 11th best prospect in his high school class, and he has ten college scholarship offers.
Williams has more than 5 million Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter followers combined, and Puma sees his early signing as unleashing his hybrid appeal as a rising basketball star and social media influencer.
In a statement, Adam Petrick, global director of brand and marketing at Puma, stated, “His brilliance on the court and his ability to connect with young players and spectators alike will help propel hoops culture forward and inspire the next generation of athletes.”
Vertical Academy, founded by his father, Mahlon Williams, is unaffiliated with any sanctioned high school state sports organization and instead plans to play a 25-game nationwide schedule against a variety of prep schools and similar academies across 19 states.
Williams’ future intentions are still to be established, as prep talents now have a few options to select from, including the conventional NCAA route, the G League Ignite platform, the fledgling Overtime Elite program, and professional clubs abroad.
Williams was featured in a mixtape-style video titled “Not Yet Rated” that was shared on social media to promote the partnership. The agreement was reached before Williams and Vertical Academy took against Overtime Elite in the GA Prep Series on Oct. 29.
Williams signed a NIL representation agreement with Excel Sports and agent Matt Davis as new Name, Image, and Likeness criteria and legislation went into force nationally on July 1, enabling amateur athletes to obtain lucrative endorsement agreements for the first time.
Davis, who is now Excel’s Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, has spent the last decade negotiating marketing arrangements for NBA draft choices John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, as well as basketball culture influencer and designer Don C. Williams is coveted and considered as if he were a current NBA draft lottery selection, and talks with Puma increased throughout the summer.
“This one is unique in that it’s the first of its type, and no other high school basketball player has a shoe contract with a worldwide footwear company,” Davis said. “When Mikey joined with Excel, we treated the market as if he were a professional athlete, and it has helped Mikey and other NIL players.”
Williams will join an existing Puma basketball roster of 25 athletes, which includes WNBA stars Breanna Stewart and Skylar Diggins-Smith, as well as NBA players LaMelo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and DeAndre Ayton, as well as WNBA players Breanna Stewart and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
With the recent reveal and imminent debut of his MB.01 sneaker, Puma has named Ball its first signature basketball player since 1999. As he finishes his junior season of high school basketball, Williams has been seen wearing the bright red sneaker, as well as other Puma sneakers including the Court Rider and Fusion Nitro Spectra.
Mikey Williams, 17, signs historic footwear and apparel deal with Puma. He is the son of NBA legend Michael Jordan. Reference: who is mikey williams dad.
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