New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson, along with two members of his family, is being sued by tech company Ankr for allegedly failing to pay back a $2 million loan. Ankr says Williamson, his stepfather and his mother still owe the company $1.8 million.
According to a report from the Associated Press, Ankr PBC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans. In its lawsuit, Ankr claims that it wanted Williamson to be a spokesperson for the company. The company also says Williamson's stepfather, Lee Anderson, served as the NBA star's manager and required $150,000 up front just to start the negotiations.
Sharonda Sampson, who is Williamson's mother, is also named as a defendant in the suit because Ankr allegedly wired her a "bridge loan" that Anderson said was needed to pay back other financial obligations.
"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," Ankr said in its lawsuit, per the AP.
Anderson allegedly told Ankr that the family would endure "financial hardship" and that Williamson would not serve as a spokesperson for the company if the loan was not provided up front.
Ankr also claims that it helped Williamson find a physical trainer and personal chef in addition to aiding him in community events.
The suit states that Ankr did receive a $500,000 payment from Anderson as part of a forbearance agreement that was struck last April. However, $300,000 of that covered interest, and Ankr says it never received the other $1.8 million from the family.
Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick by the Pelicans in the 2019 NBA Draft, but injuries have plagued the first four years of his career. Williamson has played in just 114 career games, and he sat out the Pelicans' play-in game this past season due to a hamstring injury.
When he's been on the court, Williamson has been a highly productive player. Williams has posted career averages of 25.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.