Wall Street may be pushing back the embarrassing explosion of Nike sneakers, but the famous clothing company is expected to suffer in other ways, including stiffer competition for sponsorship from player Zion Williamson when he turns pro.
Barely half a minute into Wednesday night’s game, Williamson – a Duke freshman and aspiring basketball superstar – sustained a knee sprain when his white Nike sneakers tore. Former President Obama, who was sitting next to a court, appeared to exclaim “His shoe broke,” according to television footage of the incident.
Nike shares fell 1.1% to $ 83.95 on Thursday, wiping out more than $ 1.1 billion in the company’s market cap. While analysts were skeptical that snafu would significantly reduce demand for Nike sneakers, experts say the company could still face longer-term challenges.
Nike’s rivals, who are already pouncing on its sneaker snafu on Twitter, could seek to use the viral moment to convince Williamson – one of the NBA’s top picks – to wear their clothes in place of Nike once it gets off the hook. ‘he will turn pro, experts said.
âMoney is the most important consideration, along with your belief in the product – and it might not be in Nike’s corner right now,â said sports lawyer Daniel Wallach.
Nike could also face litigation following Williamson’s famous crash in the Duke-North Carolina game on Wednesday night. But that will depend on whether forward Duke’s 2019 NBA manager status is affected by his injuries, which have so far been diagnosed as minor.
“If he’s able to come back in the next game, or soon enough, then this will all be gone,” Wallach said. But if the injury were to turn out to be more serious, then “this is a quintessential liability lawsuit,” Wallach said.
Nike products have been torn apart in the field before, but the one that hurt Williamson has been heard across the country. It didn’t help that the shoe came off as cameras zoomed in on the 6-foot-7 player, giving millions of fans a close-up view of Williamson’s pained grimace, as well as the failing shoe.
Superstar Duke, set to apply for the NBA draft this summer, “progressing as planned”, his team tweeted.
The Portland, Oregon-based company released a mea culpa, stating that âthe quality and performance of our products is of the utmost importance. Although this is an isolated event, we are working to identify the problem. “
“That wouldn’t have happened in the Pumas,” the rival shoe company tweeted Wednesday night, before deleting it 90 minutes later.
âI’m sure Nike is going to get Williamson’s shoe and do their due diligence with the equipment guys and trace it back to the factory,â sports marketing consultant Joe Favorito told The Post.
Other high profile Nike product failures include:
The players’ shirts collapsed on the pitch at the start of the 2017 season – the first year of Nike’s eight-year contract as the league’s official uniform supplier.
Philadelphia 76ers goalie Tony Wroten lost the sole of his Air Jordan 10 in a 2014 game, while LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin suffered a huge hole in his Nike during a a 2012 game.