Zion Williamson’s Nike shoe splits seconds into play. Nike seeks answers

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Zion Williamson sprained his knee when his Nike shoe collapsed in court (Reuters)

New York:

Nike is looking to find out what went wrong after college basketball’s biggest star sprained his knee when his shoe collapsed, one of the most high-profile dress failures in the history of the game. basketball.

Duke University freshman star Zion Williamson, the consensus No.1 pick in this year’s National Basketball Association draft, fell onto the field less than 35 seconds after last night’s loss to its rival in the state of North Carolina. He had planted his foot to change direction when his left shoe, the PG 2.5 PE, came off, causing him to fall awkwardly.

The fallout for the world’s largest sportswear brand was immediate. Twitter was lit with jabs from fans and rival brands, making “Zion” and “Nike” hot topics on the social media network. The company’s shares fell 1.7 percent on Thursday in New York.

“We are obviously concerned and wish Zion a speedy recovery,” Nike said via email. “Although this is an isolated event, we are working to identify the problem.”

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Companies like Nike and Adidas pay tens of millions of dollars for the exclusive right to run high-profile college programs like Duke, which means their athletes must wear uniforms and shoes made by the team’s sponsor. (Reuters)

While the incident, which happened during one of the most anticipated college basketball games of the year, is certainly embarrassing, it is unlikely to affect Nike’s prominent position in the league. sports, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Chen Grazutis. If you combine Nike and its Jordan brand, the company has over 90% of the basketball market. Nike reported $ 4.35 billion in equivalent wholesale basketball sales in fiscal 2018, or about 14% of its overall sales.

“They might get a lot of bad press over the next few days, but I don’t think it will have a direct impact on the shoes,” Grazutis said.

Companies like Nike and Adidas pay tens of millions of dollars for the exclusive right to run high-profile college programs like Duke, which means their athletes must wear uniforms and shoes made by the team’s sponsor. . Although Duke’s contract with Nike is not public, the Durham School is one of Nike’s most important basketball partners. For comparison, the University of Kentucky, another big basketball school, recently extended his Nike contract for eight years and $ 30.6 million.

The malfunction could also hamper Nike’s ability to sign Williamson once he decides to go pro. College athletes can’t sign sponsorship deals, but the competition for elite draft candidates is fierce every year. Last year’s No.1 pick Deandre Ayton signed a deal with Puma that would be the biggest rookie deal since Kevin Durant’s seven-year, $ 60 million contract with Nike in 2007.

Williamson has been one of the most successful college candidates for years. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward suffered a slight sprained knee, according to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. He did not return to the game and No.8 UNC knocked down No.1 Duke 88-72.

The timing couldn’t have been worse for Nike. Not only was the game televised nationally on ESPN, it was one of the most anticipated college basketball games of the year. The cheapest resale tickets before the whistleblower exceeded $ 2,500, approaching Super Bowl levels.

Former President Barack Obama, standing outside the courtroom during the high-profile clash, was shown on video appearing to say with an incredulous look: “His shoe broke!”

It also comes as Nike draws criticism for another type of shoe malfunction. Some people who bought the company’s latest basketball creation, a slip-on shoe that you can control with your phone, couldn’t connect to the Android version of the app.

This is not the first time that Nike has had problems with its basketball products. After taking over as the official supplier of NBA uniforms in 2017, several stars, including LeBron James, saw their jerseys ripped.

Nike stock has risen by around 25 percent over the past year, similar to the gains of Puma and Under Armor Inc. while leading Adidas AG’s gain of around 12 percent.

Puma is an upstart in the basketball market, and one of its few NBA players, Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics, took advantage of Nike’s misstep to urge others to join him.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)


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