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Basketball and Instagram sensation Mikey Williams, just 17, officially signed a multi-year sneaker deal with Puma on Thursday, taking advantage of the NIL rules creeping through the high school ranks.
Williams, a 6-foot-3 point guard in the Class of 2023, is by far the youngest prospect to sign with Puma and already has an NFT via the I Got It Auction company and an NBA 2K commercial with the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum. He also has contracts with the LaceClips portable fitness tracker, Topps Trading Cards, and Leaf Trading Cards with more alleged deals going on.
After making his way onto the national stage as a 9th-grade student in San Diego, Williams transferred to the basketball-centric Vertical Academy in Charlotte in sophomore, although the buzz surrounding him surrounding wasn’t just about his field skills. Only the 13e Ranked a player in the current 2023 class according to 247 Sports, he may be the most attractive to business due to his popularity on social media.
Williams has 3.3 million Instagram followers – six times more than recent NBA overall pick Cade Cunningham, according to The Athletic – and 60,000 more Twitter followers. His Instagram posts – often of him lip-syncing, posing or talking trash in the field – typically garner 350,000 likes and 1,000 comments, appealing to companies like Puma.
Puma released a statement Thursday saying Williams will wear his Court Rider sneakers and be part of the company’s ‘Not Yet Rated’ brand – a marketing campaign that Puma says “embraces the idea that although Mikey is a top talent, his cap has not ‘not been determined.’
Puma was a cutting edge football-centric company in recent years, but joined the basketball genre in 2018. Some of its top hoops customers are LaMelo Ball, Deandre Ayton, RJ Barrett… and now l ‘teenager Williams.
“[Mikey’s] his talent on the pitch and ability to connect with young athletes and fans will help advance hoop culture and inspire the next generation of athletes, ”said Adam Petrick, Global Brand and Marketing Director by Puma. “He has a bright future ahead of him and we are proud to be part of his career.