The business that is college basketball is believed to be crooked, and it’s not really a secret at this point. Payments are alleged to be made to players all the time, and big-time apparel companies like Nike, Adidas, and Jordan sponsor these schools, with hopes that when the players make the jump to professional basketball, the players will remain loyal to the brand at which they wore when they were at that school.
It should serve as no surprise that in a federal filing by attorney Michael Avenatti, that Zion Williamson, possibly the biggest college recruit in years, was trying to be swayed in making his college decision with money from big-time corporations.
Darren Rovell of The Action Network text messages between Nike correspondents and EYBL managers, there are text messages that are said to show EYBL manager Jamal James asking Nike correspondent John Stovall “if they’d be “willing to do whatever may be needed” to sway Williamson and other EYBL recruits to go to Nike schools.
Responding to James, Stovall said he would be willing to shell out as much as $35,000 to Zion, and $20,000 to Romeo Langford. There no proof that the kids, or manager, ever received any funds, but we all know Zion Williamson did end up going to Nike sponsored Duke. While Romeo Langford attended Indiana University, which is an Adidas sponsored school.
“Nike will not respond to the allegations of an individual facing federal charges of fraud and extortion. Nike will continue its cooperation with the government’s investigation into grassroots basketball and the related extortion case,” according to Riley Jones of Sole Collector.