In a Tuesday tweet, Michael Avenatti accused the mother of Phoenix Suns player DeAndre Ayton of taking cash from Nike. “Ask DeAndre Ayton and Nike about the cash payments to his mother and others,” he wrote. “Nike’s attempt at diversion and cover-up will fail miserably once prosecutors realize they have been played by Nike and their lawyers at Boies. This reaches the highest levels of Nike.” Avenatti, who was charged Monday with attempting to extort as much as $25 million from Nike, didn’t elaborate further on his allegation. Shortly before his arrest, Avenatti announced a Tuesday press conference “to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by Nike.”
Last year, former Adidas consultant Thomas “TJ” Gassnola alleged during a a college basketball corruption trial in New York that when Ayton was a junior in high school, Adidas gave a family friend $15,000 that was meant for his mother. The money was handed over in hopes of establishing “a relationship” with Ayton, CBS Sports reported.