The new NCAA NIL (name, image, likeness) rule that went into effect on July 1 that allows college athletes to profit from their images and reputations, has now trickled down to star high school athletes. Seventeen-year-old high school prep phenom Mikey Williams has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma. The deal makes him the first American high school basketball player to sign a sneaker deal with a global footwear company.
“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 am passionate about,” Williams told ESPN in a statement.
Williams is a 6-foot-2 junior at Vertical Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina. The superstar guard doesn’t graduate until 2023 but already has a few offers to weigh following the NCAA college basketball route. He has already received 10 scholarship offers from major universities. Other options include joining the NBA’s minor league operation, the G League, or balling overseas.
Williams is the 11th-best prospect in his high school class by ESPN and is a social media star as well, as people around the world have been following his personal life and career. He has more than 5 million combined Instagram, TikTok and Twitter followers and Puma feels he’ll help lock in a younger audience.
“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, further told ESPN.
Puma also announced the partnership with a highlight real of the future NBA prospect called “Not Yet Rated,” which they unveiled on their social medial platforms. Williams joins Puma’s 25 player basketball squad that includes NBA and WNBA stars like LaMelo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Deandre Ayton.
Ball recently became the first athlete to have his own signature shoe with the brand since 1999 when he unveiled the MB.o1 shoe which is scheduled to drop in December. Mikey could have his own signature shoe in the future if he lives up to his potential.
Check out Mikey and Puma changing the game below.