Zion Williamson has signed with Jordan. But it became a technicality in which his shoe salary would come from Nike five months ago.
That was when Williamson's shoe exploded in the biggest game of the regular season of the year against Duke's great rival and, ironically, the alma mater of Michael Jordan, North Carolina.
Williamson was subsequently filed with a sprained right knee and remained out until the ACC Tournament.
Nike was probably the favorite to sign Williamson before. They have the duke deal. And coach K, thanks in part to his coach of the US team. UU., Is your highest paid coach.
But when Williamson was injured, everything was clear: Nike had to sign it. The world's largest shoe and clothing giant flew the broken shoe to its Oregon headquarters and said it was evaluating the problem, but never disclosed its findings in a move that could be considered as protecting its relationship with Duke and Williamson
When Williamson was hurt in the spectacular way he did, in the most watched college basketball game of the season, Nike was in a difficult position.
This was not a vaguely negative brand problem. It was his product, the biggest player to come to the university game as far as we can remember.
And in the way it was reduced, oddly, Williamson earned millions of dollars more in his shoe offer.
We still don't know the terms, but experts say the outbreak of the shoe made the interest of landing at Zion much greater. For Nike, signing Williamson would mean that the shoe incident would never have to be spoken again.
On the other hand, Williamson became more valuable for any Nike nemesis. Can you imagine an advertisement from adidas or cougar recapitulating the blown shoe? It's something that Nike would have a hard time responding to. For the right price, Williamson could have shattered Nike.
Nike did what it had to do and also made the right decision by moving it to Jordan, a different brand under the parent company. (Williamson's blown shoe was PG 2.5).
It also makes sense because Zion's favorite player is Jordan. As a child, he caught up with MJ's movements on YouTube.
"Since I was a child, I dreamed of reaching the league and having the kind of impact on the game that Michael Jordan had and still has today," Williamson said in a statement. "He was one of those special athletes I admired, and I really can't express how happy and excited I am for this trip."
So, surely, it's Nike, who can finally breathe with a sigh of relief because Zion is officially on his team.