Nike’s worst nightmare occurred on Wednesday night.
In the first minute of the high-profile Duke-North Carolina game, Blue Devils star Zion Williamson exited with an injury after his shoe broke. Williamson was wearing the Nike PG 2.5 PE, and the shoe literally fell apart, resulting in a knee injury.
This is the biggest stage in college basketball and the biggest star in the sport, and to have the equipment fall apart and cause an injury could not have been a worse turn of events for the Swoosh. Instantly, people pounced.
Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier said Williamson/Duke should join Puma, a new brand in the basketball shoe market.
Come on over to puma
— Terry Rozier (@T_Rozzay3) February 21, 2019
Puma joined in as well before later deleting their tweet.
Wouldn’t have happened in the pumas
— PUMA Basketball (@PUMAHoops) February 21, 2019
Others on social media instantly knew what the injury and shoe failure meant for Nike and its competitors.
Nike right now…. pic.twitter.com/05aWBRRiJ8
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) February 21, 2019
Adidas, Under Armour and Reebok after Zion fell out of his Nikespic.twitter.com/255WWmjsze
— Breyon (@bre_88) February 21, 2019
Nike stock may take a hit on the market tomorrow after Zion blowout!! #UNCvsDuke
— Mark A. Perdue (@markperdue65) February 21, 2019
Terrible look for Nike.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) February 21, 2019
We’re not about to say Nike’s stock price is going to fall on Thursday, but this really couldn’t be worse for them.
Williamson was soon ruled out for the rest of the game due to his knee, raising questions about his future at Duke, and whether he might actually follow Scottie Pippen’s advice.