‘NIL Is Alive and Kickin’| Prep Star Mikey Williams Become First HS Hooper To Ink A Shoe Deal, Joins LaMelo Ball & Puma Family

Mikey Williams is a 2023 five-star high school basketball recruit with over 5 million followers across various social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and others.

Ranked the No. 7 overall recruit in the class of 2023, in July Williams took advantage of the new NIL rules and signed with Excel Sports Management. Williams became the first high school athlete to take this route, and he had this to say as the time of signing.

“I love to hoop and I love engaging with my fans and look forward to continuing to share my journey with everyone,” Williams Tweeted. 

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First HS Hooper With Sneaker Deal (PUMA) 

Williams is now further capitalizing on his NIL opportunities by signing with shoe and apparel giant Puma.

“I am excited to join the Puma family this early in my basketball journey. Puma really understands how to mix hoops and culture, two things I’m passionate about.”

Williams will be featured in a variety of ways, from wearing various sneakers on court, to other off-the-court ventures via marketing and social media content. Adding Williams is a brilliant move, as it helps Puma in its quest to steadily improve its position in the basketball realm and compete with shoe giants Nike and Adidas. 

Williams joins a growing list of talented hoopers in the Puma Hoops family. Seattle Storm superstar Breanna Stewart, Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton, Charlotte Hornets budding star LaMelo Ball, New York Knicks rising player RJ Barrett and former UConn and current Storm sharpshooter Katie Lou Samuelson are all down with the Puma posse. 

In July, Excel VP Matt Davis raised the possibility of a major shoe deal, and even said he believed the “deal would generate millions of dollars for Williams.”

“Thanks to a combination of combination of hoops, hustle and swag, Mikey is one of the most engaging youth athletes with a reputation and skillset that is off the charts. He represents today’s zeitgeist, with a community of followers he has developed through creative, curated and compelling content.”

Cali Power

Born and raised in San Diego, Williams’ fame shot through the roof due to a strong presence on social media and a captivating personality. He began sharing his life experiences on his social media accounts in junior high school. His array of dunks and step-back threes, coupled with a swag and bravado usually associated with NBA stars, helped create this massive following. 

While attending San Ysidro High as a freshman he packed out arenas all across the state of California, where he had NBA stars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade pulling up to to his games. Rappers Drake and Da Baby even pulled up to see the young phenom do work. Williams led San Ysidro to the San Diego section III championship and even scored 77 points in a single game during his freshman campaign.

 

Williams is so popular that OVERTIME even gave him his own reality television series to follow his every move on and off the hardwood. Now in its fourth season, it’s safe to say the content’s been a major hit.

Williams transferred to Lake Norman Christian School in North Carolina before his sophomore season as COVID-19 restrictions ravaged the season across the U.S.  

He’s now playing at the brand new Vertical Academy in North Carolina. VA was founded by Williams’ father Mahlon and Clean Juice owners Kat and Landon Eckles. They’re playing a schedule that began in August and goes until March, with 25 games in 19 different states.

Williams transferring across the country shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’s shown an interest in several HBCUs as a possible college destination. Most believed he would attend a “Power 5” or “Blue Blood” (Duke, UNC, Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky). 

When Makur Maker became the first five-star recruit to go to an HBCU, he was taking a huge risk and setting a new path for HBCU athletics.

“I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & others started to dream ‘what if,’” Maker wrote on Twitter. “I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney.”

As long as Williams keeps getting bags, the possibility of him attending an HBCU for at least one magical season is in play. It will be complicated for any unheralded university that might be fortunate enough to secure him, trying to juggle the social media circus that Williams’ brand offers. It will also be exciting.  

Williams walking onto any campus with a sneaker deal in tow creates a new dynamic in the relationship between player, coach and teammates. To take it a step further, although Williams is constantly talking about playing at the collegiate level, this deal will surely complicate his college situation if the team he plays for is already sponsored by another shoe company. 

How does that work? 

He might go the G League developmental program for a season. 

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Either way it’s a big deal. The athlete is getting paid and he doesn’t have to be a student to benefit from his talents. We should only hope the best for the young, rising phenom and teenage entrepreneur.