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Michael Avenatti claims Nike paid Zion Williamson's mom, Duke is investigating

Nick Roush04/06/19

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Article written by:On3 imageNick Roush

@RoushKSR

Over the last two weeks, attorney Michael Avenatti has stirred the college basketball pot on Twitter. After only teasing us, now he has something that could be pretty significant.

The attorney who is being investigated for extorting Nike now claims the shoe company paid Zion Williamson’s mother, Sharonda Sampson, for “consulting services.” In theory, those payments were to convince Zion, who played for an Adidas AAU team, to attend a Nike school.

Avenatti also provided some documents that tie the shoe company to DeAndre Ayton and Bol Bol.

Even if you consider the attorney to be nothing more than a carnival barker, they say where there’s smoke, there’s fire. His claims are enough to get the Duke athletic department to investigate the matter.

“We are aware of the allegation and, as we would with any compliance matter, are looking into it. Duke is fully committed to compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations,” athletic director Kevin White wrote in a statement to The Chronicle. “Every student athlete at Duke is reviewed to ensure their eligibility. With regard to men’s basketball: all recruits and their families are thoroughly vetted by Duke in collaboration with the NCAA through the Eligibility Center’s amateurism certification process.”

Even if Avenatti’s claims prove to be untrue, this isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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2022-06-30