Yet his massive social media following — more than 5 million followers across multiple platforms — has allowed Williams to become the first prep basketball star to sign with a major sports representation agency to pursue name, image and likeness endorsements and sponsorships.
Williams, a San Diego native who will attend Lake Norman Christian in Huntersville, North Carolina, and play for Vertical Academy, has signed a deal with Excel Sports Management that Excel vice president Matt Davis said he believes “will generate millions of dollars for this young man.”
“Mikey’s relevance around his peers in the basketball community is off the charts,” Davis told ESPN. “He’s one of the most relevant personalities in the basketball community. His digital and social following speak for themselves.”
Williams, 17, is the No. 7 overall prospect in ESPN’s Top 100 for the Class of 2023. His significant prominence among Generation Z has afforded him the chance to be a groundbreaking high school athlete in the NIL marketplace.
“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.”
While legislation recently allowed for college athletes to financially profit from NIL endorsement opportunities, no high school prospect unaffiliated with a college program has shown the ability to generate the revenue that Williams appears on the cusp of earning — including the possibility of a major shoe deal.
“He’s a rare, one-of-a-kind athlete in this space,” Davis told ESPN. “We’re going to build out his national profile and take big swings.”