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Nike stock slips after Duke basketball star gets injured as sneaker rips open

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer

This post has been updated.

It happened just 30 seconds into Wednesday’s huge rivalry game between Duke and UNC: The biggest college basketball star in America slipped while driving to the basket, and his left foot completely tore through his Nike basketball sneaker.

6-foot-7 forward Zion Williamson left the game with a knee injury and did not return. College basketball fans gasped, and Nike shareholders frowned.

On Thursday, Nike (NKE) stock dropped 2% premarket and was down more than 1% as of 12 p.m. EST.

Now Nike is “concerned” and is investigating the “issue.”

Duke's Zion Williamson sits on the floor following an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

In a statement sent to press, Nike said, “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 incident comes just over one year after Nike’s official NBA jerseys repeatedly tore during games in November 2017. And the Williamson fiasco could not come on a more visible evening for the brand: the biggest college basketball game of the year so far, a game some fans paid more than $2,000 to attend, and Williamson’s first Duke-UNC rivalry game of his college career.

The memes on Twitter came fast and furious—including a clip of President Barack Obama, who was in attendance, pointing to the court and noting, “His shoe broke.”

Nike rival Puma took the opportunity to mock Nike, tweeting out at 9:27 p.m. EST, “Wouldn’t have happened in the Pumas.”

Puma deleted the tweet minutes later.

Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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