Five-star college basketball recruit Mikey Williams has signed a historic endorsement deal with Puma. The 17-year-old combo guard is still in his junior year of high school and becomes the first active high school player to have a sneaker deal with a global brand. Williams has more than 5 million followers across social platforms, including 3.3 million on Instagram alone, and is ranked as the 11th best player in his class overall by ESPN.
“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, Puma’s global director of brand and marketing, said in a release. “He has a bright future ahead of him, and we are proud to be a part of his journey.”
Williams currently plays in North Carolina for Vertical Academy, which was founded by his father, Mahlon, and is unaffiliated with any state athletic associations. This means he doesn’t have to worry about being ruled ineligible to play because of his deal, and because of a new law that went into effect this summer he’ll also be able to play NCAA basketball if he so chooses.
What’s next for Williams? — The young phenom still has two more seasons of high school basketball before his options will include playing in the NCAA, the NBA’s G League, or overseas. This season, Williams will play 25 games against teams from 19 states as part of Vertical Academy’s schedule.
For Puma, Williams is already leading a “Not Yet Rated” campaign across social media that focuses on up-and-coming athletes. The videos include mixtape-style cuts of his highlights, including his acrobatic dunks that have made him one of the best known high school players in America.
Puma’s recently revived basketball division now includes 25 players in the WNBA and NBA, with LaMelo Ball being the first player to get a signature sneaker from the brand since 1999. Should Williams trajectory still continue to rise, he could soon join him in the NBA with his own sneaker to match.