It was the pop heard around the country, but nowhere was it louder than in Nike’s boardroom.
The game between NCAA powerhouses and rivals, the Duke University Blue Devils and North Carolina University Tar Heels, was slated to be one of the most intense games of the collegiate season where Duke University’s 280 pound and 6’8 star, Zion Williamson, was supposed to showcase his talents to the world. However, the game caught the attention of numerous big time news channels for all the wrong reasons.
During the first minute of the game, Williamson was running up a seemingly simple play along the free throw line when he took an unexpected fall. He stayed on the ground for a few seconds, and it was revealed moments later that his left foot tore through his shoe.
After going through the replays, it was clear that Williamson slipped on something on the court and attempted to save himself by planting his left foot. However, by doing this, the bottom sole of his Nike PG 2.5s ripped away from the rest of the shoe.
Williamson was immediately taken to the locker room and would miss the rest of this pivotal game.
This unexpected injury of the projected 1st round NBA draft pick obviously took the internet and social media by storm.
The creator and founder of the Nike PG’s, Oklahoma City Thunder star, Paul George, responded to the controversy on CBS News by saying: “It hasn’t happened to me as long as I’ve been in this shoe. We’ve made three generations, going on four now of my shoe, of being successful. So I didn’t necessarily feel any way about that part — the negative part of it. My only concern was for Zion, honestly.”
The incident with Williamson caught the attention of numerous other NBA stars, such as the rising star from the Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell, who criticized the NCAA’s policy of not paying its collegiate players. He says on Twitter, “Again let’s remember all the money that went into this game…. and these players get none of it…. and now Zion gets hurt… something has to change.”
Ramapo freshman and Duke basketball superfan, Alex Horgan, gives his take on the subject and says that Nike should “have taken the time to make one of the top college basketball players in the country a custom pair of shoes. They do this a lot for NBA players but not so much college basketball. They should try and be more accommodating to physical freaks like Zion.”
Former president of the United States, Barack Obama, even wished Williamson a “speedy recovery.”
Of course, as all would have guessed, this took a major toll on Nike. Within the first day, it was calculated by Jay Williams, former NBA player and Duke Blue Devil, that the Nike stock dropped around 1.37%, which is around $3 billion lost.
There is no definite date on when Zion will return, but it is projected by Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski, that he will be back sometime before March Madness begins.
The country will undoubtedly be watching Zion…and his shoes.
By: Jack Houston, Staff Writer
Featured Image: Basketball star Williamson and his torn shoe. (Photo Courtesy of CNBC)