A Nike released Zion Williamson shoe broke during the preseason game of Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks almost identically to Zion’s shoe explosion while playing for Duke. Fortunately, Lakers rookie Chaundee Brown did not suffer any serious injury, but it raises concerns among fans: just how reliable and sturdy are these Zion Williamson shoes?
When Zion’s shoe exploded, it wasn’t a good look for Nike. But, we mostly attributed the malfunction as the ultimate proof of Williamson’s tremendous athleticism. The kid was just too strong and explosive for the shoe.
Zion limped off the court, and we all feared he suffered a serious injury. Fortunately, that was not the case. Still, Nike made it clear they are doing everything necessary to ensure their gear is never to blame for an athlete’s injury. One has to appreciate the irony that the situation happened with Zion’s signature shoe. (He was wearing a Paul George model when his shoe blows up.)
Nike has to go back to their lab to address the root cause of this problem. Injuries are part of the game, but if a player hurts himself because of playing in sub-standard basketball shoes, the blame should be on the manufacturer’s side. To remind you, many people suspected Lonzo kept twisting his ankle because he was playing in the BBB shoe. Just imagine the outcry of not only the New Orleans Pelicans fans but the whole NBA if Williamson suffers a career-altering injury because his shoe ripped open.
Rough period for Nike
Having a Zion 1 shoe explode exactly like the shoe Zion was wearing is unfortunate and is just the latest PR crisis the giant from Oregon had to deal with. First, we found out Kobe was frustrated with the company and intended to leave to start his own shoe company. After that, Vanessa Bryant made it public that the family had problems with the fact that Nike continued to release Kobe lines without consulting them.
A similar situation happened with one of Kobe’s disciples in the league. Kyrie Irving recently publicly condemned his own shoe, Kyrie 8, and claimed it was trash.
“These are trash! I have absolutely nothing to do with them! Nike plans to release it without my okay, regardless of what I say, so I apologize in advance.”Kyrie Irving
Nike is still the dominant force in the market. This is probably just a blip on the radar, but a significant one. Where does player empowerment go after they fully conquer the NBA? The shoe game will be the next battleground, and we’re seeing the beginning of that today.