Zion Williamson didn’t win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, after injuries limited him to just 24 games in his first season in the pros. He may end up being the big winner when it comes to the endorsement game, however.
Williamson signed with Jordan Brand after leaving Duke to become the first pick in the NBA Draft, signing with the company for the largest rookie shoe deal in history—a reported seven-year, $75 million contract, although some reports have it close to nine-figures.
Jordan is now prepared to release its first Zion Williamson signature model shoe. The shoe will reportedly be named the Jordan Z Code and is scheduled to be released in early 2021.
Williamson’s size and explosive movements on the court require a highly-specialized shoe. He had a high-profile shoe failure at Duke, when he planted his foot to move and his shoe gave way, causing him to miss several games with a knee injury. After that, Nike experimented with several customizations of its shoes to meet his needs for the remainder of the season.
Williamson joins an interesting list of athletes to receive a signature model Jordan shoe, a list that started with Eddie Jones and Vin Baker and has included Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and China’s Guo Ailun, as well as non-basketball athletes Roy Jones Jr. (boxing), Derek Jeter (baseball) and Randy Moss (football).
There are currently just over 20 NBA players with Jordan Brand endorsement deals, highlighted by Williamson, Paul and Luka Doncic.