Duke basketball star Zion Williamson had a high-profile wardrobe malfunction Wednesday night in the opening minute of the Blue Devils’ 88-72 loss to North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Just 30 seconds into the game, Williamson was making a spin move when his Nike sneaker gave out.
— Overtime (@overtime) February 21, 2019
With the force of his pivot, Williamson basically tore the bottom off his shoes and left the game with a knee injury.
He was wearing Nike PG 2.5 sneakers, which are named after Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George. They retail for about $110, according to USA Today.
— Early Start (@EarlyStart) February 21, 2019
Williamson never returned.
After the game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called it a “mild knee sprain. The knee is stable. … We don’t know how long he’ll be out.”
He said he expected more details on Williamson’s status in the coming days.
Social media blew up over the highly unusual circumstances that led to Williamson’s injury.
One tweet came from rival shoe company Puma, which said, “Wouldn’t have happened in the Pumas.”
— Sleeper Athletes (@SleeperAth1etes) February 21, 2019
Puma deleted the tweet about 30 minutes later after some negative feedback on Twitter.
— Hairy Belly Phonté. (@_OED) February 21, 2019
Nike has been Duke’s exclusive shoe provider since 1992 and is in the middle of a 12-year contract with the university, according to Clutch Points.
Puma is a resurgent player in the basketball shoe market, having recently signed Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Michael Porter Jr. and DeMarcus Cousins to sneaker deals, Clutch Points reported.
Nike issued a statement on the incident.
“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery,” the company said, reported USA Today. “The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”
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