Nike Facing Backlash After Shoe Incident

Thursday’s game between Duke and the University of North Carolina (UNC) was a must watch for many sports fans around the world. The matchup even brought former US President Barack Obama to the arena.

UNC vs. Duke, one of college basketball’s biggest rivalries, quickly took a bad turn when a player was injured. That player happened to be the reason why many tuned in or spent thousands of dollars to watch the game up close.

Zion Williamson took the court but was all over social media following a strange incident with his shoe. His Nike shoe pretty much exploded less than a minute into the game. The 18-year-old clutched his leg after falling to the floor and he would not return.

He was taken to the locker room and the team later issued a statement saying that he would sit out the rest of the game. Williamson was in pain following the incident and many quickly took social media to give their reactions on what happened.

Williamson, who has quickly become the most talked about basketball player in college, is averaging 22.4 PPG. He is the ACC’s second leading scorer and is projected to be a top draft pick.

Williamson suffered a knee injury and the match that many had waited to see quickly turned into a disaster for Nike. The shoe brand has a deal with Duke for its uniforms, shoes and apparel. The school extended its contract with Nike back in 2015 and has had an exclusive deal with the company since 1992.

Nike and many other companies plan to sign the teenager when he decides to move to the NBA. The shoe disaster isn’t good news for the company since it left him with a knee injury. The worst part for the company is that the game was one of the most anticipated of the season, so there were a lot of viewers watching what happened to Zion.

Some attendees paid thousands of dollars to watch the game up close but were left disappointed by the incident, which left the matchup without one of its biggest stars. A lot of people took social media to let Nike know about it. Rival shoe brand Puma even made a post saying that it wouldn’t have happened in Pumas. That post was later deleted.

The whole thing just got worse and worse for Nike as athletes and celebrities made comments on the incident. Some even believe that this has probably ended the chances of Nike signing him to a sneaker contract this summer.

The injury has also brought back the debate on playing college basketball and risk suffering a serious injury before heading into the NBA. Several NBA stars have commented on the situation, suggesting that players should make the move as quickly as possible. Dallas Mavs superstar Luka Doncic responded to a post by Utah Jazz superstar Donovan Mitchell. In the post, the Slovenian player suggested that players should play in Europe instead of college basketball.