Zion Williamson has found himself in the news a lot this summer, but unfortunately the headlines have often had little to do with his basketball prowess.
The Pelicans’ All-Star forward has found himself in trade rumors and personal conflicts that have become public, most recently finding himself on the receiving end of a lawsuit, alongside his stepfather, Lee Anderson, and mother, Sharonda Sampson, over an unpaid $2 million loan from a tech company. According to the Associated Press, Ankr PBC — a tech company specializing in blockchain technologies — is suing Williamson and his family for having failed to repay $1.8 million worth of a $2 million loan the company lent them in 2021. The company was hoping to get Williamson to be a spokesperson, and provided the loan after already paying $150,000 up front to Anderson to even open negotiations for a business relationship.
Williamson’s mother, Sharonda Sampson, is named as a defendant, in part because Ankr wired money into her account after Anderson allegedly told the company his family urgently needed a “bridge loan” to cover investment obligations.Advertisement
“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.Advertisement
Ankr also alleges that Anderson told the company that “his family would suffer financial hardship, and Williamson would not enter into a business relationship with Ankr,” if the loan was not made immediately.
Ankr stated that it agreed to make the loan on condition it be paid back by Aug. 21, 2022, but that Anderson subsequently requested a series of extensions, and that when Ankr finally received a check for $25,000, it bounced.
After entering forbearance earlier this year, Ankr was supposed to get paid back $500,000 of the loan by the end of April, but states the $500,000 paid so far only covers $200,000 of the loan itself and $300,000 in interest. It seems the focal point of the lawsuit is Anderson, who was negotiating the deal and asked for the loan, but it is unfortunately an example of how an athlete needs to have his affairs in order off the court and the right people in control of financials to avoid such situations.