New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson won another round in court Wednesday in the lawsuit filed by his former agent.
Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal granted a full stay that prevents the former Duke star from having to answer questions regarding alleged improper benefits — at least for the moment.
Williamson’s lawyers had won a temporary stay earlier this month.
According to multiple media reports, plaintiff Gina Ford’s case now moves to a federal court in North Carolina.
Ford filed a $100 million lawsuit against Williamson and his new representatives, Creative Artists Agency, on the same day he was drafted first overall into the NBA in June 2019. She cited breach of contract with her agency, Prime Sports Marketing.
Last month, Ford’s attorneys asked in court that Williamson admit that his mother, Sharonda Sampson, and stepfather, Lee Anderson, demanded and were given money, gifts and other illegal benefits from Adidas, Nike and Duke during the recruitment that wound up with him signing to play for the Blue Devils.
Williamson severed ties with Prime Sports in May 2019, about a month after signing with the agency, maintaining his contract was invalid under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act as Ford was not a registered agent in the state. Williamson subsequently signed with CAA several weeks before he was drafted.
Williamson’s recruitment arose during the 2018 college basketball corruption trial in New York. A federal wiretap caught former Adidas consultant Merl Code and Kansas assistant coach Kurtis Townsend talking about what it would take for Williamson to choose the Jayhawks.
Duke maintains that it consulted the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference to confirm Williamson’s eligibility.
Williamson, who turns 20 next month, is averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games with the Pelicans this season. He missed the team’s first 44 games due to right knee surgery.
In his only season with the Blue Devils, Williamson captured numerous national player of the year honors after producing 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocked shots per game.