Zion Williamson Injured After Shoe Explodes, Nike Takes A Serious Beating

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Zion Williamson Nike Shoe
USA Today Sports

Last week, the same story rocked both the business and sporting worlds. In a game against North Carolina, Duke basketball star Zion Williamson’s Nike shoe exploded within the first minute. The malfunction resulted in an injury, and now Nike is in big trouble. What does this mean for Zion Williamson and Nike’s future? Here’s everything we know so far about one of the year’s biggest college basketball stories…

The Exploding Shoe

Zion Williamson Nike Shoe
Lane King/Men’s Health

On February 20th, the Duke Blue Devils took on the University of North Carolina. Zion Williamson, Duke’s star player, is one of the top college basketball players in the country. As always, Williamson was ready to go. However, things took a sharp turn at the very beginning of the game…

33 seconds into the game, something so shocking happened, it took everyone a moment to realize what occurred. Zion Williamson’s Nike shoe exploded! It ripped right in half, causing the basketball player to slide and injure his knee. You could see everyone’s shocked reaction, including President Obama’s, who came to enjoy the game.

How And Why Does A Shoe Explode?

Paramedics immediately removed Williamson from the game. He is currently in recovery, and reports say he will return to the floor soon enough. Williamson’s future legal steps against Nike – if he’ll take any, at all – are unknown. Duke’s basketball team and Nike have shared a sponsorship contract since 1993. This means Williamson is also legally bound in it, which is why suing the company is complicated.

Nike said in a statement, “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.”

Nothing like this has ever happened before, not in college or professional basketball. Many speculate Williamson’s shoes were defected or weren’t inspected closely enough. Industry people, Twitter users, and basketball fans called out the giant sporting/clothing company: how could this happen, especially to the rising basketball star everyone has their eyes on?

The Future for Nike and Zion Williamson

Nike Zion Williamson

There are two types of implications for Nike: one on the short term, and one in the long run. Nike’s stocks went down 1.5% immediately after the incident, even though since the beginning of 2019 its’ stock value went up by 13%. Obviously, this was also terrible publicity for the brand, causing consumers everywhere to doubt the durability of the company’s products.

As for the long run, Nike is always looking for its next spokesman. From Michael Jordan to LeBron James, we now associate basketball players with the company’s logo and products. Can Nike ever compensate Williamson? Nike almost certainly kept an eye on the up-and-comer as a potential spokesman, with his talent. Regardless of the company’s future relationship with Williamson, Nike’s image took a plunge with players of every level. In the near future, and possibly forever, athletes will likely question representing and buying this brand.

We would have to wait and see what happens next and wish Zion Williamson a speedy recovery.