Basketball Player's Nike Sneaker Rips Apart Seconds Into Biggest Game of the Year

Playing Sneaker Expert Explains How Nike Shoe Might Have Ripped During Basketball Game

Seconds into Duke’s game Wednesday night against arch-rival the University of North Carolina, star player Zion Williamson went down and his Nike sneaker came apart. 

The shoe ripped violently, exposing his entire foot and causing the freshman sensation to bow out of the game with a sprained knee in Durham, North Carolina. 

Williamson is considered one of the best in the nation and is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the forthcoming NBA draft. It is unknown when he will return. 

At the time, Williamson was wearing Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George’s signature Nike PG 2.5 sneaker. The sneaker retails for $110. 

Sneaker expert Jeff Esquillo showed Inside Edition how the shoe might have ripped apart. 

"When you look at the shoe, it is actually just bonded together just by glue where the mix sole and the rubber meet," he said. "When it actually came apart, the glue must have came apart and maybe his toe came through and his foot just rammed it its way through, [ripping] all of the uppers that are actually glued on from the actual midsole."

Nike is scrambling to do damage control following the incident. The company’s stock fell 1.5 percent Thursday morning.

"We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery," the company said in a statement. "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 average resale ticket price for the game was more than $4,000, according to Sports Illustrated, with the highest ticket sold purchased at $10,625 via Vivid Seats

Tickets for this year’s Super Bowl had an average resale price of $4,656, according to USA Today. 

The game was so popular, that even former President Obama sat courtside. When it was realized by the crowd that 44th American president was in attendance, they chanted his famous campaign slogan “Yes we can!” 

Following Williamson’s injury, Obama tweeted he hopes the player has a speedy recovery. 

Obama was also caught on camera saying “his shoe broke” when Williamson went down.

Oscar-nominated director Spike Lee and former baseball great Ken Griffey Jr. were also in attendance. 

Duke was ranked No. 1 going into the game and UNC was ranked No. 8. Following Duke’s 88-72 loss to UNC, Williamson’s team is now in second with UNC getting bumped up to No. 3. 

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