- University star Zion Williamson’s Nike shoe fails
- Nike to launch investigation
- Player could earn $1 billion from pro career
Shares in sportswear giant Nike fell yesterday after one of the most popular U.S. collegiate athletes injured his knee. The incident occurred when Duke University star Zion Williamson’s Nike shoe collapsed during a televised game that was being broadcast nationally.
Williamson, a projected number-one pick in next year’s NBA draft, was playing in the game in North Carolina. The freshman forward has dominated headlines in college basketball recently. Less than one minute into the game, he fell to the floor of the court in obvious pain after his Nike PG 2.5 shoe developed a fault, appearing to separate the upper from the sole.
The resulting injury was characterized as “mild knee sprain” by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, but it was enough to rule Williamson out for an unspecified time. Nike promised to launch an investigation into the incident.
The company 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,” it added.
At the opening of trading yesterday, Nike shares were marked 1.27% lower at $83.77 each. At that price, the sportswear giant would be valued at $132 billion and would see its three-month stock gains falter around 15%.
Nike has a 12-year contract with Duke University to supply athletes with shoes and other sports gear. The deal was last extended in 2015 for an undisclosed sum. The same year, Nike confirmed a similar arrangement with the University of Michigan worth $169 million over 15 years.
Williamson has more than 2 million followers on Instagram, making him the most recognized collegiate player in the past ten years. He has been projected to earn up to $1 billion from a professional basketball career.