Mikey Williams, a 17-year old prep star, has signed a multiyear apparel and footwear endorsement deal with Puma. This makes him the first American high-school basketball player to have a deal with a global footwear brand.
Williams stated, "I am thrilled to join the Puma Family this early in my basketball career." "Puma truly understands how to combine hoops and culture, which are two passions of mine," Williams said.
The 6-foot-2 combo guard from Vertical Academy, Charlotte, North Carolina is a junior. He will not be eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft until he turns 20. ESPN ranks him as the 11th best prospect in his high school class and offers him 10 scholarships to college programs.
Williams is a combined Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter fan with more than 5,000,000. Puma considers Williams' unique early signing to be what unlocks his hybrid appeal as both a rising basketball star and social media influencer.
Adam Petrick, global director for brand and marketing at Puma said that "His talent and his ability to communicate with young athletes and their fans will help drive hoops culture forward" in a statement.
Vertical Academy was founded by Mahlon Williams' father. It is not affiliated with any high school athletic association. Instead, it is slated to play a national schedule of 25 games in 19 states against a variety of prep schools and similar institutions.
Williams' future plans are still unknown as prep stars have several options between the traditional NCAA pathway, G League Ignite platform and upstart Overtime Elite program.
Williams was featured on a mixtape-style video that was shared across social media, titled "Not Yet Rated" to announce the agreement. The deal was completed before Williams and Vertical Academy faced off against Overtime Elite at the GA Prep Series Oct. 29.
On July 1, new laws and guidelines regarding Name, Image, and Likeness went into effect in the country. This allowed amateur athletes to secure endorsement deals. Williams signed a NIL representation agreement between Excel Sports and Matt Davis.
Davis is Excel's Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. He has spent the last decade negotiating marketing agreements for NBA draft picks John Wall and DeMarcuscous Cousins. Don C, a basketball culture influencer, and designer, was valued by Puma and considered to be a potential NBA draft lottery pick.
Davis said, "This shoe deal is unique because it's the first ever of its kind and no other high school basketball player has signed a shoe deal for a global footwear brand." "When Mikey signed for Excel, we approached it the same way as professional athletes, and that has helped Mikey and other NIL athletes."
Williams will be integrated into brand campaigns, product roll-outs and marketing campaigns. He joins a Puma basketball roster that features 25 players, including WNBA stars Breanna Stewart, Skylar Diggins Smith, and NBA players like DeAndre Ayton, Kyle Kuzma, and LaMelo.
Ball was recently named the first Puma basketball player since 1999 by Puma with the recent unveiling of its MB.01 shoe and the upcoming launch. Williams was seen wearing the bright red sneaker during recent games. He also wore other Puma shoes like the Court Rider or Fusion Nitro Spectra, as he continues his junior high basketball season.