Nike stock market value plunges by $1.1bn after basketball star Zion Williamson’s shoe breaks

Zion Williamson was injured after footwear ripped apart during match being watched by millions

Colin Drury
Friday 22 February 2019 11:32 GMT
Basketball star's high-profile shoe failure knocked $1.1bn off Nike stock value

Nike has had $1.1bn (£844m) knocked off its stock market value as after what is being called one of the most expensive apparel failures in history.

The company’s value tumbled by 1.7 per cent on Thursday as it was repeatedly blamed for a sprained knee to rising basketball star Zion Williamson, seen by millions live on TV.

Sports lovers across the US watched in horror as the teenager was crocked when his Nike trainer tore apart mid-shot during a high profile college match.

The freshman, who is in the draft for next season's NBA, had to sit out the rest of the game between his university team Duke Blue Devils and state rivals North Carolina Tar Heels .

Barack Obama, who had gone to watch the match live, could be seen in his court side seat apparently saying with disbelief: “His shoe broke”.

The former president later took to Twitter to wish Williamson a “speedy recovery.”

Nike’s own rehabilitation was relatively rapid; the sportswear company's shares had erased much of their losses by Friday lunchtime as US stock markets rose on the back of more positive economic news.

Mario Natarelli, managing partner at the MBLM brand agency in New York told CBS News Williamson's injury was a “very visible shoe structure failure for a company committed to performance and technology of its products”.

Analysts added the malfunction might hurt the firm’s ability to sign Williamson once he goes pro – a deal that would potentially be worth millions.

In a statement, the company said: “We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

Companies like Nike pay millions of dollars for the exclusive right to kit out high-profile college teams like Duke, meaning their athletes are required to wear uniforms and trainers made by them.

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