A brand that’s all about premier shoes and clothes for athletes, is now facing backlash. Nike stock dropped by more than 1% ($1.1 billion) after Duke's star basketball player Zion Williamson's shoe exploded in a highly anticipated matchup against North Carolina on Wednesday.
Williamson's Nike shoe split open as he attempted to make a cut. An odd occurrence that caused the player to sit out the rest of the game with a knee injury. He was wearing Nike PG2.5's, one of which suffered a manufacturing malfunction within the first minute of the game.
Top analysts attributed the stock drop to Williamson, the presumptive top pick in this year's NBA draft, said to be the hottest prospect since LeBron James entered the draft more than a decade ago. Along with national attention on the game, former President Barack Obama was sitting courtside. Clips of Williamson’s damaged shoe and Obama pointing to it quickly went viral.
Nike, which exclusively supplies Duke's basketball team with shoes, gear, and uniforms, released a statement right after. "The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance," the company said. "While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue."
Even with the recent situation, analysts don't predict the Williamson incident will damage Nike's reputation in the long run. Nike's products haven't had any notable malfunctions in the past, except for some NBA jerseys briefly ripping in 2017.
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