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Sport Zion Williamson's lawyer calls on judge to throw out disputed agent contract

08:35  21 may  2020
08:35  21 may  2020 Source:   latimes.com

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 NBA: Civil Lawsuit: Serious Allegations Against Zion and Duke © Provided by SPOX Zion Williamson has taken the NBA by storm in its first season. Zion Williamson is in litigation with his former marketing officer Gina Ford and her company Prime Sports. The New Orleans Pelicans star is now said to admit that his mother and stepfather accepted inappropriate payments to move to Duke University. Williamson sued Ford and Prime Sports last June to terminate its contract with the company it signed in May.

Zion Williamson ’ s lawyer calls on judge to throw out disputed agent contract . The Charlotte lawyer for former Duke University basketball star Zion Williamson called on a federal judge Wednesday to void the player’s original agent contract , a key element in a year-long 0 million

Zion Williamson : The next NBA superstar? Williamson says that he took the appropriate steps to void the contract he signed with Prime Sports, and he "If he already forfeited his eligibility on a given date, and if the only question were what happened after that date (obviously, in this dispute , there is

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte lawyer for former Duke University basketball star Zion Williamson called on a federal judge Wednesday to void the player’s original agent contract, a key element in a year-long $100 million legal fight.

a man wearing a black shirt: Duke's Zion Williamson before a game against Clemson at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., on January 5, 2019. © Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America/TNS Duke's Zion Williamson before a game against Clemson at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., on January 5, 2019.

In his motion to U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs of Winston-Salem, attorney John Wester argued that the agreement Williamson signed with Florida agent Gina Ford and Prime Sports Marketing in April 2019 violated an N.C. law designed to protect student-athletes from unscrupulous agents.

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Specifically, Wester’s filing repeats his client’s central argument that his contract with Ford was never legal because she was not a registered sports agent in North Carolina when Williamson signed it.

Moreover, Wester writes, the agreement failed to include a required warning to the player of the ramifications of signing with an agent, including the loss of his college eligibility.

Both elements are mandated by the state’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act, which according to Wester’s filing, protects athletes from “manipulative, underhanded behavior” from agents.

Ford’s lead attorney in the federal lawsuit, Alvin Pittman of Los Angeles, did not immediately respond to an Observer email Wednesday seeking comment.

Williamson, who played for Duke in the 2018-19 season before becoming the top pick in the 2019 NBA draft, signed with Ford on April 20, 2019. His lawsuit claims the agent started recruiting him during basketball season when the then-18-year-old quickly became one the country’s best college players.

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Williamson hasn’t played since spraining his knee against North Carolina on Feb. Williamson would miss the rest of the regular season for Duke, a five-game stretch where the team went 3-2 in his absence. Zion Williamson ' s stepdad just came out from the locker room to bring his mom back.

Meet Zion Williamson , a 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward and one of the biggest showcases of basketball talent in the country. As a rising star at Duke University, Zion is on the verge of making his dreams come true. A lucrative career in the NBA appears to be within his grasp.

Six weeks later he announced that he was breaking what Wester described Wednesday as an “ill-advised, invalid, and onerous agreement” to sign with another group. He filed suit against Ford in the federal Middle District of North Carolina in June.

Ford countersued six days later in the state courts of Miami-Dade County, Fla. She’s seeking the $100 million that Williamson’s contract says he would owe her if he broke the agreement within five years.

In the months since, both cases have bogged down in a Four Corners of procedural claims and counterclaims, a status Wednesday’s filing hopes to speed up.

Ford has alleged in court filings that she sent Williamson’s stepfather $100,000 to meet Williamson’s demand for an “immediate” advance on his Prime Sports contract.

Her lawyers have also filed a series of questions for Williamson to eventually answer in the Florida case over whether he and his family received impermissible benefits from Duke or several shoe companies.

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Zion Williamson is the top uncommitted basketball player in the senior class. Trevor Booker is the program’ s only current NBA player, with forward K.J. McDaniels also bouncing in and out of the league over the last few years.

If Williamson violated his NCAA eligibility, Ford may be able to argue that he would not be covered by North Carolina’s agents act, one of more than 40 such laws around the country.

Asked about the allegations that Williamson received improper benefits, Wester wouldn’t comment.

His filing Wednesday alleges that Ford and her defense team have failed to challenge the central issue — that her contract with Williamson was illegal — setting the stage for a declaratory judgment from Biggs.

“Mr. Williamson, a standout athlete expected to be the first NBA draft selection, was clearly at risk of unscrupulous behavior by agents seeking to attach themselves to his success,” the filing says.

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