17-year-old basketball phenom Mikey Williams has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel deal with Puma, making him the first American high school basketball player to sign an endorsement deal with a global footwear company, ESPN reported.
The 6-foot-2 junior guard of the Vertical Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, is currently ranked as the 11th-best prospect in his high school class by ESPN. Also, he's received 10 scholarship offers from various college programs thus far.
Although he won't be eligible for the NBA Draft until 2024, Williams is excited about his partnership with Puma.
"I am excited to join the Puma family this early in my basketball journey," Williams said in a statement. "Puma really understands how to mix hoops and culture, two things I am passionate about."
Adam Petrick, global director of brand and marketing at Puma, believes that Willaims will be one of the next NBA superstars when he arrives in the league.
“His talent on the court and his ability to connect with young athletes and fans alike will help drive hoops culture forward and inspire the next generation of athletes," Petrick said in a statement.
Vertical Academy is unaffiliated with any sanctioned high school state athletic association and was founded by Mikey’s father, Mahlon Williams. The team plays a 25-game national schedule traveling to 19 states to face off against other prep schools and academies.
While he’s made history with a landmark deal with Puma, Williams has several options as he charts his course for the next phase of his basketball career. Because of how the amateur sports landscape has changed, high school basketball stars now have many avenues to choose from to make it to the NBA including “the traditional NCAA path, G League Ignite platform, upstart Overtime Elite program and professional teams overseas.” Additionally, the new legislation that was enacted now permits amateur athletes to be compensated on endorsement deals for the first time.
Williams signed an agreement to be repped by Excel Sports VP and agent Matt Davis.
“This one is special because it's the first of its kind, and no other high school basketball athlete has a shoe deal with a global footwear brand," Davis said. "When Mikey signed with Excel, we approached the marketplace just as we would for a professional athlete, and that has paved the way for Mikey and other NIL athletes."
Recently, Puma has been expanding its roster of basketball players that have endorsement deals with their brand. WNBA stars Breanna Stewart and Skylar Diggins-Smith, along with NBA players such as LaMelo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Deandre Ayton are all a part of the Puma family.