Zion Williamson will rep the Jumpman logo to start his NBA career, as the top overall pick from this year’s NBA Draft announced his decision to sign with Jordan Brand on Tuesday.
There was plenty of speculation in the months leading up to and after the draft as to who he’d sign with and for how much, with some positing he’ll get a bigger deal than LeBron James got from Nike out of high school. On Tuesday evening, Adam Zagoria of Forbes reported the figures were 7 years, $75 million, which would put him second behind James but ahead of Durant.
However, those numbers may be a little off, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday that it was a five-year deal and is the richest in league history on an annual basis for a rookie. Woj doesn’t report official figures, but James’ deal was seven years and $87 million back in 2003, which would mean Zion’s must be worth more than $12.5 million per year.
There was also a report that Williamson turned down bigger money to sign with Jordan, something confirmed in Woj’s report as he notes he had offers into the nine-figure range.
The competition to sign Williamson — the national player and freshman of the year at Duke — was intense. Before Williamson committed to Jordan Brand, several shoe competitors made offers on total deals that extended well into the nine-figure range, sources tell ESPN.
Among other deals that had been presented to Williamson, ESPN shoe analyst Nick DePaula reported he had offers in excess of $10 million annually.
At some point we’ll find out the exact figures, but whatever they are, Zion is getting paid handsomely for his endorsement of Jordan and may have still taken a discount to do so. It seems other companies were giving him plenty of reason to go elsewhere, but he chose to stick with the company he really wanted to represent.