Duke’s freshman superstar Zion Williamson’s shoe exploded Wednesday night, in the first minute of the game against their rival University of North Carolina. It was a disastrous minute for Zion, who hurt his knee on the play and was out for the rest of the game, as well as for Duke, which lost the game, and their fans—some of whom had paid thousands of dollars for tickets to a game starring unpaid athletes. It was also a really bad minute for Nike, which made the exploding shoe.
Zion's shoe: destroyed ???? pic.twitter.com/LqQ2te0Jay
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 21, 2019
Former President Barack Obama, who was sitting courtside at the game, was captured on video appearing incredulous while saying: “His shoe broke!” That was a particularly bad look for Nike, and Twitter jumped all over it. Even rival Puma tweeted, then deleted a jab, writing: “Wouldn’t have happened in the pumas.”
Nike shares dropped, falling as much as 1.4% to $83.65 in premarket trading, per Bloomberg.
With the ghost of LeBron James’s split jerseys still haunting Nike, the brand jumped into action. “We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance,” Nike said in a statement. “While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.” That said, some pundits think Nike may not be all that worried about the hit to their basketball shoe business as the business has been reportedly shrinking.
While Nike tries to figure out what went wrong, Reddit is full of conspiracy theories, best summed up by the Beastie Boys: