Zion Williamson had everyone on edge Wednesday night after going down with a knee injury in the opening minute of Duke’s rivalry game with North Carolina.
Zion Williamson was on the court for only 36 seconds before slipping on the court while trying to reverse his dribble. The freshmen phenom’s foot blew right through his Nike shoe, as he fell onto the court.
According to ESPN, fans gasped as Zion then began holding his knee, seemingly writhing in pain after the spill. However, he quickly sat up, removed the ruined remains of his shoe, and hobbled off the court under his own power.
The announcers could hardly believe the situation, as they discussed the fact that Williamson’s foot busted straight through his sneaker on the court. Upon looking at the replay, it was revealed that the blue sole of the college basketball player’s shoe ripped from heel to toe as his foot came all of the way out the front of the sneaker’s large gap.
Zion left the game and headed back to the locker, where he stayed as Duke ended up losing to their biggest rival, North Carolina, by a score of 88-72, having had to play the entire game without their star player.
Former President Barack Obama was in attendance at the highly anticipated game, and shouted out words of encouragement to Williamson as he limped back to the locker room with no shoes on his feet.
The Nike PG 2.5 that Zion ripped through ???? pic.twitter.com/HG2N9LQq3F— Aaron Dodson (@aardodson) February 21, 2019
Duke coach Mike Kzryzewski revealed after the game that Zion Williamson’s knee was stable, calling it a “mild knee sprain,” and claiming that he would know more about the situation on Thursday.
Zion was wearing the Nike PG 2.5 sneaker, which is NBA star Paul George’s shoe. The sneakers were George’s signature shoe from the fall and styled in an exclusive colorway for Duke.
The school is currently four years into a 12-year contract with Nike, as the company is the supplier of the team’s uniforms, shoes, and apparel. Now, the company is taking heat after Zion’s blown-out shoe, as Williamson has been one of the most talked about college players this year, averaging 22.4 points per game, and being talked about as the likely No. 1 all-around draft pick for the 2019 NBA draft class.
Nike has yet to comment on the controversy, and it is currently unclear how many games Zion Williamson could miss with his knee injury. Meanwhile, Duke is set to play Syracuse on Saturday.