NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Nike Inc. shoe worn by a college basketball superstar, split in two in less than a minute in a much-anticipated match between Duke University and North Carolina, causing an uproar on social networks while the company was looking for dysfunction.
Zion Williamson, a 6-foot-7 freshman for the Duke Blue Devils, who is expected to be the NBA's first choice in 2019, suffered a slight sprain in his right knee because of the incident, according to his coach Mike Krzyzewski.
A video replay showed that Williamson was sliding and collapsing on the floor, knee tight with pain. His left shoe is cut in half and a part of the sole is torn off the base of the shoe.
Williamson did not return in the match-up, which ended in a 72-88 loss to Duke, No.1, in favor of the Tar Heels Team, No. 8.
"We are obviously worried and wish Sion a speedy recovery," Nike said in a statement.
"The quality and performance of our products are of paramount importance. Although this is an isolated event, we are working to identify the problem. "
The sportswear manufacturer's shares lost more than 1 percent in the afternoon on Thursday, a day after the incident, removing about $ 1.46 billion from Nike's market capitalization since Wednesday's closing.
Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel said he is optimistic: "any lasting damage to society and its actions will be minimal".
Williamson wore a Nike PG 2.5 basketball shoe when he was injured, Nike confirmed to Reuters in an email.
The line of sports shoes, launched in the summer of 2018, sells for between 95 and 105 dollars on the Nike website.
The shoe received mixed reviews and a 4 out of 5 star rating on Nike.com as of Thursday.
Nike is Duke's exclusive supplier for uniforms, shoes and apparel under a 12-year contract that was extended in 2015 and has been awarded an exclusive contract with the private university since 1992, know the ESPN.
The latest results of the company have shown signs of rebound by accelerating the launch of new products and developing partnerships with online retailers. The company based in Beaverton, Oregon, expects sales growth for 2019 close to 10%.
Williamson, who averaged an average of 21.6 points per game, was named "next James Lebron" and should be selected for the first time in the NBA draft in June.
Krzyzewski said that it was not clear how long Williamson would be away because of the injury.
Former President Barack Obama, director Spike Lee and NFL running back Todd Gurley attended the game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils National Stadium.
A video of the match posted on Twitter showed that Obama was sitting at the edge of the court, expressing his shock and expressing his words: "His shoe is broken!"
The incident lit up social media, with celebrities and some of the biggest basketball stars expressing shock and dismay.
"I hope everyone is fine!" Tweeted LeBron James (@KingJames) on Wednesday. "Literally blown through his [shoe]He added using an emoji shoe.
"Once again, let's remember all the money that has been invested in this game … and these players have nothing to do with it," Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell), an old-timer, said on Twitter. of the NBA first round and current goalkeeper of Utah Jazz. Wednesday. "And now, Zion is hurt … something has to change."
This is not the first time that Nike faces a controversy over the know-how of its sportswear. In 2017, the company suffered a setback when several NBA jerseys worn by basketball stars, including James, were torn apart.
Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Siddharth Cavale and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bangalore, Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris, and Melissa Fares, Amy Tennery and April Joyner in New York; Edited by Bernard Orr and Bernadette Baum