Overcoming a challenge from Puma, Nike's Jordan brand has signed Zion Williamson to a footwear endorsement deal. Williamson was the number-one pick in the NBA draft of 2019. This past February, he famously injured his knee playing for Duke University when one of his Nike PG 2.5 shoes burst open in a game against the University of North Carolina. He now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. According to TMZ, Williamson's endorsement deal was slow to materialize, in part because Puma's offer seemed to come “out of nowhere.” Indeed, the Wild Cat got back into basketball only last year, signing such players as Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and DeMarcus Cousins. At any rate, Williamson sent out mixed signals during the negotiations, wearing different brands on different days. Early on during the NBA's Summer League, he wore Nike Kyrie 4s on the court, before a bruised knee relegated him to the bench. Later during League play, he sat courtside in Puma RS-X Reinvention or Puma RS-0 “Video Game” shoes. Sonny Vaccaro, a former executive at both Nike and Adidas, speculated at one point that Williamson's eventual deal could exceed $100 million in value. Williamson is one of several new faces at Nike. Other new endorsers include Jayson Tatum and Rui Hachimura of the NBA, Asia Durr and Kia Nurse of the WNBA, and Dwayne Haskins of the NFL.

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