Zion Williamson's shoe malfunction puts Nike in the spotlight

Posted February 22, 2019

"We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery", Nike said in a statement.

Williamson is a generational talent and is nearly certain to be selected with the first overall pick in this year's National Basketball Association draft.

Zion might be a college player, but he's one college player with a massive profile.

As his Nike shoe blew out, Williamson sprained his right knee on the first possession of what became top-ranked Duke's 88-72 loss to No. 8 North Carolina on Wednesday night.

Nike's markets are so global and its products are so diversified that it's unlikely the sad fate of one shoe will have a meaningful impact on sales.

Williamson might be fine - he walked off the court on his own accord, and early reports indicate that the shoe explosion caused just a mild knee strain.

In the wake of Williamson's injury, many took to Twitter to show support for the young forward, but not Rovell, who was more concerned with Nike's stock after seeing their shoe rip during college basketball's biggest game.

The injury happened after Williamson planted his foot to change direction. "If they're smart, they'll reach out to Zion and have him wear their shoes again".

Endorsement deals with star athletes, including LeBron James and Serena Williams, and sponsorships with pro sports leagues and top college basketball and football teams are a crucial part of Nike's growth strategy.

President Obama swag drip too hard at last night's Duke v UNC game where he donned a fly bomber jacket with a "44" embroidered on the sleeve.

Vaccaro also touched on Williamson's popularity and playing skills. Between the dunks, the shooting and the blocked shots, it's no wonder stars turned out en masse to see Williamson in college basketball's biggest rivalry.

Patrick Rishe, the sports business director at Washington University in St. Louis, called Williamson's sneaker break a freak accident. Tickets for the game were reselling for more than $3,000 - Super Bowl prices.

And one more, even worse, nearly unimaginable, thing: Let's drop former president Barack Obama into the mix, put him courtside, and then have the TV cameras - somehow - capture him saying, "His shoe broke".

It also comes as Nike draws criticism for a different kind of shoe malfunction. The company later deleted the tweet, according to Fox News.

Nike stock is up about 25 percent in the past year, similar to the gains of Puma and Under Armour Inc. while leading the roughly 12 percent gain of Adidas AG.