Zion Williamson’s shoe blowout has become the focal point for Nike thanks to the public fallout from the Duke big man’s injury. Williamson was wearing Paul George’s signature shoes (PG 2.5 PE model) in Duke’s blue and white colorway when his foot went through the shoe just seconds into their game against North Carolina.
After the incident, Nike released an official statement to Bleacher Report.
We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.
The severity of Williamson’s injury is unknown, but the Duke big man is expected to miss time. While it is never good for this type of shoe malfunction to occur, the issue is magnified given how big the Duke-North Carolina game was with a number of celebrities in attendance including Barack Obama, Spike Lee and Ken Griffey Jr.
“For a shoe to fall apart – completely fall apart – came in one of the most highly anticipated games in a long time,” former shoe executive Sonny Vaccaro told USA TODAY Sports. “This magnifies it. There was no NBA game going on and Zion had as much hype as anyone in a while. Tickets were going for thousands of dollars. The moon and the stars aligned and everyone in the world saw it.”
Duke Is a Nike School Through 2027
The way shoes and apparel deals work in college athletics are the athletes wear the brand that the school has an agreement with. Duke is a Nike school and Williamson along with everyone else on the Blue Devils team was wearing Nike shoes.
Duke announced in 2015 that they had reached a 12-year contract extension with Nike extending the relationship through 2027.
“To be sure, Duke Athletics and Nike have been partners since 1992, wherein Blue Devil student-athletes have been outfitted with excellent footwear and apparel products,” Duke athletic director Kevin White said in the 2015 press release. “Today’s announcement relative to this unique relationship signals yet another long-term agreement, which will provide more cutting edge product innovation in addition to significant financial resources, whereby the student-athlete experience will be greatly enhanced – both in and away from competition – well into the foreseeable future.”
Duke Had Insurance For Zion Williamson
Action Network’s Darren Rovell reported Duke has insurance on behalf of Zion Williamson for up to $8 million. Williamson would have to fall to the No. 16 pick in the NBA draft for the insurance to be activated, which is not going to happen.
“JUST IN: Zion Williamson has $8 million in loss of value insurance from policy written by ISI, according to sources. In order to start collecting, however, he would have to slip past the 16th pick in this year’s draft, which isn’t happening…Sources: Duke paid for Zion Williamson’s insurance policy, as schools are allowed to do. Premium for a $8 million loss of value policy runs around $50,000,” Rovell tweeted.