Here's the thing. Even if Williamson's mom did get paid by Nike and that led Zion to attend Duke, what's the worst that can happen to him? Neither Williamson nor Duke are mentioned in any of the documents, which instead focus on former Arizona player DeAndre Ayton and former OR player Bol Bol, among others. Additional details in the documents suggest that some of the payments were billed to Nike through fraudulent invoices disguised as business expenses. Avenatti said the scheme was initiated by Nike Elite Youth Basketball executives Carlton DeBose and Jamal James and was carried out by Gary Franklin of California Supreme Youth Basketball.
In an emailed statement on Saturday, Duke athletic director Kevin White said the school is "looking into" the allegation. Avenatti has yet to provide visual proof of any payments to persons connected to Williamson.
Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti is continuing his attack on Nike.
In response to allegations made by Avenatti against the brand, Nike has repeatedly issued the following statement: "Nike will not respond to the allegations of an individual facing federal charges of fraud and extortion and aid in his disgraceful attempts to distract from the athletes on the court at the height of the tournament". The documents included what Avenatti said were emails and text message conversations between Nike employees and associates of the players, as well as bank statements that showed the alleged payments. "Every student athlete at Duke is reviewed to ensure their eligibility". Avenatti shared a 41-page document on social media but it did not contain any references to Williamson.
On Friday, Avenatti inferred in a tweet that Nike paid Williamson's mother Sharonda Sampson for "bogus consulting services" during the forward's junior year of high school in 2016-17.
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On top of that, they came out of halftime and built a double-digit lead over Tom Izzo's team. The Virginia Cavaliers are dancing on to the national championship game in Minneapolis .
Williamson was not a unanimous pick for either player of the year award he took home Friday night, but he is universally expected to be the first player drafted in June.
Melvin McDonald, who is described as Ayton's handler, allegedly received money. Avenatti has used his Twitter account to go after the company, along with college basketball players who suited up for Nike-sponsored programs, like Deandre Ayton and Bol Bol.
"If I get hit by a bus today, this story will go on, and Nike's corruption eventually will be exposed and the world will know what really happened here", he continued.
Eisen followed up, "So you, just to be clear, you are denying that you threatened to release damaging information about Nike and this company if it didn't meet your demands for $20 million".