Duke basketball star Zion Williamson played just over 30 seconds in his highly-anticipated game against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday, February 20. The Blue Devils standout’s latest game was the hottest ticket in college basketball, with tickets rivaling those of the Super Bowl.
However, an unfortunate incident ended his night early.
When Williamson went to plant his foot, his sneaker exploded and he went sliding to the ground. The end result was an embarrassing moment for Duke apparel sponsor Nike and a knee injury for the potential No. 1 overall pick.
“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue,” Nike said in a statement released to Darren Rovell.
The incident also caused Nike’s stock to drop on Thursday morning.
“It’s not a material loss to Nike’s business, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Nike’s stock, on no other news, didn’t do a little dip tomorrow morning from this prominent event,” he wrote on Wednesday night. Then, when the results were in, Rovell added the numbers.
“With an hour to go before the market opens, Nike shares are down 1.73 percent,” Rovell noted. “Two pieces of recent news. Obviously Zion’s shoe last night + some Nike Adapt shoes needing updates to function.”
The good news for Williamson is that it is expected the injury was simply a mild knee sprain. However, the injury has also led to renewed speculation that Williamson could decide to shut himself down for the remainder of the season to stay healthy for the NBA Draft.
Nike, meanwhile, has to deal with their PR disaster that could have led to a devastating injury to the best player in the nation.