Nike recently took center stage in arguably the biggest US college basketball games of the season for all the wrong reasons. Feb 20th, saw the match up between Duke University; the top ranked team in US and rivals University of North Carolina. The match was one that was highly anticipated, with former president Barack Obama even in attendance. In the buildup to the match, Duke University’s superstar Zion Williamson was tipped as one to watch. The freshmen superstar is the presumed first pick in the upcoming NBA draft. True to expectations, Duke Williamson had his name on everyone’s lips just early on in the game.
Williamson’s Shoes Blew Out
Few minutes into the game, Zion Williamson had the ball and was moving swiftly across the floor. Moving with great speed, he attempted to plant his left foot and change direction. At this point, the Nike PG 2.5 sneaker, Williamson had on blew out causing his foot to slide across the court.
He fell to the ground and had to leave the game shortly after. After the game, which University of North California ended up winning, the coach of Duke University made it clear to the media that Williamson’s injury was a mild knee sprain. He also suggested that it was not clear yet, how long he would be out. Soon after, clips and pictures surfaced online showing Williamson’s sneaker with the sole ripping off the shoe.
Nike’s Reaction To The Incident
Nike released a statement after, wishing Williamson a fast recovery ”The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identity the issue” the statement read. The incident creates a public relations mess for Nike, a company committed to helping athletes perform better. Fellow sneaker company and rivals Puma, commented a cryptic message on Twitter saying ” Wouldn’t have happened in the pumas”.
Although rare, Nike has had other sneakers blow out in the past, it is very rare. The company ensures that its shoes undergo extensive testing, allowing the large number of college and pro players who make up their clientele we them without any incident. A high profile incident like that of Zion Williamson is one that does not look good for the company.
Double Trouble For Nike
Williamson’s injury was not the only public relations mess which Nike had to face on the day. Users reported issues of difficulties using the app controlling its new $350 Adapt BB smart basketball sneakers, which it released as a game-changing technology. The sneakers was recently released, and it uses the app as an interface to improve performance. The app allows users to enhance the usage and capabilities of the sneakers overtime.
The sync between the app and the product has however been anything but seamless. Many users have complained of the app syncing with one foot, but not the other. This has created concerns from the users. It is left to see how Nike will address both situations.
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