The NBA’s most talked about rookie is staying with the league’s licensee.
Panini America and the agents for Zion Williamson have agreed to an exclusive trading card deal that will include autographs in products throughout the 2019-20 season.
The first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, Williamson’s NBA arrival has been one of the most anticipated in recent years.
His first officially licensed autographed cards will appear in 2019 Contenders Draft Picks Basketball releasing in early September when he’ll still be pictured in his Duke uniform.
The first card picturing him in an NBA uniform and his first autographs as an NBA player will release in October in 2019-20 NBA Hoops Basketball. He’ll also have cards and autographs in 25 additional Panini NBA products released during the season.
“We’re on the cusp of witnessing one of the most historic NBA Draft classes of all time and it’s no secret that Zion is a driving force behind that fact. He’s a transcendent talent and a must-have presence in all of our NBA and collegiate basketball products for this season and beyond,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with Zion and his team to deliver exclusive trading cards and autograph trading cards to fans and collectors that will uniquely chronicle his landmark rookie season and for the start of his NBA career while adding incredible value to our entire product roster.”
During his lone season at Duke, Williamson was named National College Player of the Year, First-Team All American, ACC Rookie of the Year, ACC Player of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP. He averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 blocks and 2.1 steals per game.
“I’m truly excited to be a member of the Panini family, a company that continues to raise the bar in terms of content and creativity in the trading card arena,” Williamson said. “I look forward to working closely with the team there to create basketball cards that my fans and card collectors will want not just throughout my rookie season in the NBA but throughout my entire career.”
Williamson, who just turned 19 in July, already has some cards in the market. He appeared on Panini Instant cards issued on the night of the draft, shattering the previous sales record on the print-to-order platform. He also appeared in cards issued by Panini in conjunction with the recent National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, including the set handed out with VIP admission tickets, Silver and Gold packs from Saturday night’s Panini VIP party and VIP party Black Boxes. There are a few hundred of those cards that are being offered on eBay now.