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Zion Williamson, Gatorade ink endorsement deal

Thomas Barrabi

New Orleans Pelicans rookie phenom Zion Williamson added another major endorsement deal to his growing portfolio Thursday ahead of his highly anticipated NBA debut this fall.

Williamson, 19, announced on social media that he has signed with Gatorade. He joins the leading sports drink brand’s long list of NBA endorsers, including Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade and WNBA star Elena Delle Donne.

Gatorade said the agreement has a multi-year term. While financial terms were not disclosed, Williamson is expected to earn seven figures annually from the deal, according to Forbes.

“It’s official. Now let’s go to work #TeamGatorade,” Williamson wrote on his social media accounts.

Williamson has emerged as one of the NBA’s most marketable young stars since the Pelicans selected him with the first pick in the 2019 draft. He has deals with Nike’s Jordan Brand, the NBA 2K video game franchise and memorabilia company Panini America.

The former Duke University standout’s off-court earnings are already on track to surpass his rookie contract. His deal with Nike alone is said to be $75 million over seven years, according to multiple reports, while his initial contract with the Pelicans is worth a maximum of roughly $45 million over four years.

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“Zion has already shown a major interest in what we can do for him from a performance perspective,” said Jeff Kearney, Gatorade’s global head of sports marketing. He’s all about putting in the work to be the best player he can be, and that’s what we do best — fuel athlete performance.”

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