Mikey Williams, 17, has signed a historic sneaker deal with Puma, according to ESPN. The deal makes him the first American high school basketball player to sign a sneaker deal with a global footwear company.
The deal comes as name, image and likeness deals are becoming the norm in recent months for young athletes, including those in the high school ranks.
“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.”
Williams, who is a 6-foot-2 junior at the newly formed Vertical Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, is ranked as the 11th best prospect in his high school class by ESPN. Also, Williams is eligible for the 2024 NBA draft.
“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.
The high school star has a huge social media following. He has over five million followers across popular social media platforms. Outside NBA, Williams posts about hoops and the culture around the game.
“Outside of basketball, I consider myself a content creator,” Williams told Bloomberg. “So I can see getting into working on different creative projects. I like connecting with people and want to keep finding ways to do that.”
Williams’ sharp rise to fame is not surprising considering his management. He is being managed by Excel Sports under vice president and Agent Mike Davis, who has vast experience working with NBA players like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.
“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, according to HBCU Game Day. “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.”