Vertical Academy’s Mikey Williams recently landed a deal that could possibly open opportunities for the futures of high school basketball players.
On Oct. 29, the 17-year-old — who is eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft — signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma, making him the first American high school basketball player to sign a sneaker deal with a global footwear company, ESPN reports.
The historic announcement was made on social media with a trailer of Williams titled, “Not Yet Rated.”
“I am excited to join the Puma family this early in my basketball journey,” Williams said. “Puma really understands how to mix hoops and culture, two things I am passionate about.”
Along with being ranked as the 11th best prospect in his high school class by ESPN, Williams’ has over five million followers across TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.
“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,” Adam Petrick, global director of brand and marketing at Puma, said in a statement.
After the updates to the name, image and likeness (NIL) laws earlier this year, Williams secured a NIL representation agreement with Excel Sports VP and his agent Matt Davis, who has worked with National Basketball Association (NBA) players John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, according to ESPN.
“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,” said Davis. “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.”
With his new Puma deal, Williams joins the brand’s athlete roster of NBA players LaMelo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Deandre Ayton, as well as Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players Breanna Stewart and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
The young basketball player’s path after high school is yet to be determined, but he currently has ten scholarship offers from college programs on the table.High School BasketballMikey WilliamsNIL DealPumaVertical Academy