It didn’t take long for New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson to break his first NBA record.
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The highly touted prospect out of Duke University sold more jerseys and T-shirts than any other rookie in history in the first five days after the NBA Draft, according to Fanatics, an NBA partner that operates the league’s online store and flagship brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan.
Williamson jerseys hit stores on last Friday afternoon, hours after the Pelicans drafted him with the first overall pick and as soon as the NBA approved his uniform number, a Fanatics representative told FOX Business. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound rookie’s Nike jersey sells for $109.99 online.
Williamson has sold more jerseys and T-shirts than all first-round picks from the 2018 NBA Draft class combined, according to Fanatics. The retailer does not disclose specific sales figures.
Rowan Alexander "RJ" Barrett Jr., Williamson’s former teammate at Duke and the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, became the second-highest selling rookie in history, the company added. Both Williamson and Barrett more than doubled the previous rookie sales record set by Lonzo Ball, who went No. 1 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017.
Williamson enters the NBA as its most-hyped prospect since LeBron James after a dominant season at Duke, where he earned national player of the year honors. His popularity has led some industry experts to predict that he will receive a $100 million sneaker contract as a rookie, a figure which would outpace the $87 million deal James received from Nike when he entered the league.