One of the leading sports merchandise brand, Nike, became the target of Twitter jibes and jeers last week after, Zion Williamson, the star of Duke University’s Basketball Team, injured his knee mid-game. He could not return to complete the game, which ended with #1 ranked Duke University team losing to the #8 ranked North Carolina team 72-88.
Less than a minute into the game, the athlete’s Nike sneaker split in half. A slow-motion video replay showed Zion Williamson stumbling and collapsing onto the court, clutching his knee in agony. His left shoe could be seen split in half, with part of the sole torn off from the base of the sneaker.
Williamson who is dubbed as the “next LeBron James” sustained the injury while wearing PG 2.5s, a custom Nike brand modeled after Paul George, a six-time NBA All-Star. This line of sneakers, that sells between $95-$105 on Nike’s website, was launched in the summer of 2018.
As a result of the mishap, Nike’s stocks fell as much as 1.7%, erasing approximately $1.1 billion from the company’s market capitalization.
This prompted Nike to release a statement about the incident.
However, this is not the first time that Nike has had issues with its merchandise. In 2017, after becoming the official NBA uniform supplier, multiple stars including LeBron James, Tyler Ennis, Ben Simmons, Kevin Love, and Draymond Green had their jerseys ripped.
And, in 2015, Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge, was denied a world record at the Berlin Marathon after the insoles on his custom Nike sneakers came out.
The incident fazed social media, with some of the biggest basketball stars and celebrities expressing shock and surprise.