New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson and his mother face a lawsuit from a California-based tech company concerning unpaid loans. The Williamson family allegedly did not pay $1.8 million of a $2 million loan.

The blockchain-related company, Ankr PBC, claimed in a civil lawsuit filed in New Orleans earlier this week that it issued a loan to Williamson in September 2021 in an effort to foster a relationship with the budding NBA star. Williamson’s stepfather, Lee Anderson, allegedly served as his business manager and demanded an up-front payment of $150,000 at the time.

The lawsuit claims that Anderson requested the loan to cover expenses following the family’s relocation to Louisiana. Anderson has been accused of threatening a withdrawal from ongoing marketing negotiations if the loan was not given.

“Based on Williamson’s statements to Ankr, Ankr reasonably believed that Anderson possessed the authority to negotiate business arrangements for Williamson,” the lawsuit stated.


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In April, Anderson and Ankr reached an agreement that the company would not sue if it received $500,000. Ankr did receive this amount in a timely manner but it barely cut into the interest accrued. The Williamson family still owes $1.8 million.

“Anderson represented that the loan was urgently needed, as the family had taken on expensive investments including the purchase of certain real estate in New Orleans and could not meet their obligations due to the temporary suspension of payments from Williamson’s sponsorship deals resulting from an injury,” the lawsuit stated.

Shortly after entering the NBA, Williamson missed significant time due to injuries, which could have had an impact on his income outside basketball. In the 2022-23 season, the former Duke star briefly lived up to his status as the first overall pick in 2019, scoring 28.5 points per game before going down with another injury. Last year, he received a five-year rookie contract extension worth $193 million plus incentives. The deal takes effect this coming season.

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