Duke freshman Zion Williamson was supposed to be the star of the show during the Duke-North Carolina basketball matchup on Wednesday night. However, within seconds of the game, Zion Williamson suffered a freak injury after his Nike shoe exploded. Zion Williamson is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

ESPN first reported the injury saying he only played 36 minutes before the freak accident. Williamson had the ball and was moving toward the paint, when his shoe gave way, leading to him suffering a mild right knee sprain. Williamson's performance is unmatched across the country. However, his injury changes the landscape of the upcoming NCAA Tournament, leaving fans wondering how Duke will recover from this and when they will see Williamson back on the court.

Nike responded to shoe explosion

Nike eventually released a statement saying they were concerned and offered their sympathy to Williamson. Quality and performance of their popular products are important to them. Nike called this incident an "isolated occurrence." Nike has begun looking into the cause of the show explosion.

Nike's competitor Puma took to Twitter saying this wouldn't have happened in Pumas. Puma immediately deleted the tweet. Twitter lit up with jabs from fans and rival brands, making “Zion” and “Nike” trending topics. Action Network's Darren Rovell said this was not a total loss for the company, but expected Nike's stock to fall a little.

Zion Williamson's shoe explosion is a PR disaster for Nike

The incident might not have a major impact on Nike as a whole, but now Williamson will reconsider signing a shoe deal with Nike. Nike's stock eventually fell on Thursday, falling to $84.84 per share.

Forbes reported that this shoe explosion did not flatline Nike's stock price, Williamson's freak accident will definitely hurt the retail shoe sales.

It's a public relations nightmare and will be impossible to recover from quickly. Shoe companies like Nike and Adidas shell out millions of dollars for the exclusive rights to outfit college programs including Duke, meaning players are required to wear uniforms and shoes made by the team's sponsor.

Nike has previously faced problems with their basketball merchandise.

In 2017, multiple athletes including Lebron James complained their jerseys were ripping. Williamson is one of the most highly regarded college prospects in years. The timing could not have been worse for Nike.

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