Michael Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer, on Wednesday tweeted images of what he said is evidence Nike made cash payments to NBA player Deandre Ayton when Ayton was still in high school.
Avenatti tweeted images of four documents he said represented Nike’s funneling $10,000 to Ayton’s mother, Andrea. The images are date-stamped June 2016, months before Ayton began his senior year of high school at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Arizona.
One document appears to be a text exchange between Nike executive Carlton DeBose, who oversees Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, and Gary Franklin, director of the AAU California Supreme for which Ayton played.
The alleged text exchange between the two men shows DeBose asking if Franklin got “money from the invoice” and Franklin confirming he did.
Later on Wednesday, Avenatti posted an alleged exchange between Andrea Ayton and Franklin.
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“We encourage Mr. Avenatti to share any information he believes he has with the government, as we have done,” Nike said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “Nike firmly believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports, and will continue to assist the prosecutors.”
Attempts by USA TODAY Sports to reach Franklin and Avenatti have been unsuccessful.