Nike is once again caught in the middle of a social media thunderstorm when a Nike sneaker worn by a college basketball superstar split in half during a highly anticipated game between Duke University and North Carolina.
Zion Williamson, a 6-foot-7-inch freshman forward for the Duke Blue Devils, anticipated to be the top 2019 NBA Draft pick, was reported to have been injured with a mild sprain to his right knee due to the incident on Wednesday night, according to his coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The official Tweeter account of Duke Men’s Basketball team tweeted about the incident and said that he is “progressing as expected, and his status is day-to-day.”
A closeup video replay showed Williamson slipping and crumpling to the ground, clutching his knee in pain. His left shoe is seen split in half, with part of the sole ripped off the base of the sneaker.
Because of the injury, Williamson did not return to play in the match-up causing the no. 1-ranked Duke to lose 72-88 to the no. 8-ranked Tar Heels team.
“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery,” Nike said in a statement. “The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”
According to the report, sales of the famous sports apparel brand closed down 1%, a day after the incident, causing some $1.46 billion loss from Nike’s market capitalization since Wednesday’s close.
According to Reuters, Williamson was wearing the Nike PG 2.5 basketball shoe when he was injured. This specific shoe line was launched in the summer of 2018 and costs around $95-$105.
Many celebrities and athletes have commented on the issue, putting the shoe brand in another social media fiasco that also happened during a game attended by past President Barack Obama.
Here are some of the reactions on social media:
This is not the first incident that Nike has faced a controversy regarding the quality and craftsmanship of its sports apparel. In 2017, Nike was in a similar situation when several NBA jersey worn bu basketball stars, including LeBron James, ripped apart. /apr