Duke player Zion Williamson injured when Nike shoe bursts in game



Duke University basketball star Zion Williamson was injured when his Nike shoe burst during a game.

Williamson’s shoe ripped within a minute of Wednesday’s game against the University of North Carolina. Williamson fell and injured his knee, keeping him out of the game for the rest of the game. UNC won 88-72. The two schools and Virginia are tied at three for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Nike shares were down 1% Thursday morning.

“We are obviously concerned and wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products is of the utmost importance,” Nike said in a statement. “Although this is an isolated event, we are working to identify the problem.”

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Liz Dunn, founder and CEO of retail analytics firm Pro4ma, said one question is whether Williamson can sue. She noted that he is required to wear Nike shoes due to the contract Nike has with Duke.

“It’s a very tangled legal network,” Dunn said. “I would say he shouldn’t continue if he manages his career properly. He has a very long way to go where he can make a lot of money, unless his injury is more serious.”

Williamson, a forward, is considered one of the best college players, leading to speculation about his future in the sport and the deals that could come with it.

Shares of Nike competitor Under Armor rose 1.5% on Thursday morning. The incident could be an opportunity for the company to challenge Nike’s dominant position in basketball.

“It’s definitely a time of embarrassment for the brand on a large scale, especially in today’s world where live sporting events dominate the conversation on social media,” Baird analyst Jonathan said. Komp, “but it’s not the first either and it won’t be the last when you consider Nike sells over 500 million pairs a year.”

The Nike brand is built on the idea that customers can buy the same high performance product that their favorite athletes use, he added. “So, if handled properly, this PR issue could be an opportunity to reinforce that message to consumers. But if not premature to comment on the cause of the malfunction or the brand’s ultimate reaction. And at this point, we suspect that this is a content problem unlikely to expand to any lasting concern for the stock. “

-CNBC Michael bloom and jessica d’or contributed to this report.



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