Shoe and apparel maker Puma is reportedly close to closing a deal with high school basketball player Mikey Williams.
According to The Athletic, Williams will be eligible for the NBA Draft in 2024, and the 6-foot-3 guard is seen as a legitimate prospect in the 2023 high school class. Williams attends Lake Norman Christian School in Huntersville, N.C., and plays for Vertical Academy.
Williams has signed a deal with Excel Sports Management, which is pursing potential NIL deals.
According to SI.com, Williams already has a large social-media following, which will allow him to cash in on numerous opportunities.
"The NIL rules provide a new opportunity for someone like me who that has put in so much energy and effort into building a community," Williams told ESPN in a statement. "I am excited to be the first high school athlete to make this move. I love to hoop and I love engaging with my fans and look forward to continuing to share my journey with everyone."
The move comes after the National Federation of State High School Associations earlier this month said that the NCAA’s adoption of new NIL policies do not apply to high school athletes.
“Current high school student-athletes CANNOT earn money as a result of their connection to their high school team,” NFHS executive director Karissa Niehoff wrote in a lengthy piece addressing the issue. “Already, in less than a week, we have seen articles suggesting that high school athletes should likewise be able to earn money from their NIL. Our member state associations have rules in place that prohibit student-athletes from receiving money in any form that is connected to wearing their school uniform.”