night to promise an investigation int
Very little sidetracks the sports apparel machine that is Nike, but the sight of one of its shoes disintegrating as a rising basketball superstar
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fell to the floor clutching his knee appears to have done it, sending the company’s stock down in trading Thursday.
At the closing bell, the apparel and fashion giant’s stock was down 1.05
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percent, trading at $83.95 per share, less than a dollar off Wednesday’s closing price of $84.84.
The slide came after Duke’s Zion Williamson injured himself as his Nike PG 2.5 shoe burst open during the Blue Devils’ prime-time game Wednesday night against North Carolina. Williamson drove right and tried to spin back left, planting his left foot hard into the floor at Cameron Indoor Stadium. But the cloth side of the shoe ripped clean away from the foam sole and Williamson,
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a surefire top NBA draft choice, slid to the floor clutching his right knee.
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski called the injury a “minor knee sprain" and said the joint was “stable.”
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The team announced late Thursday afternoon that Williamson suffered a Grade 1 sprain to his right knee, that he is “progressing as expected” and will be day-to-day. But the incident led some
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analysts to call for Williamson to sit out the remainder of the season even if his knee is healthy to protect his draft stock.
The repercussions for Nike also were immediate, if not severe.
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That was better than the dire prediction from Sonny Vaccaro, a veteran shoe executive, who said Wednesday night (via Yahoo’s Pete Thamel) that video of the moment was “already all over the world while we’re still watching the game he got hurt in. They’re going to show it until we die.
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Investors’ punishment, though, was limited. Nike’s main competitors finished the trading day with mixed results. Adidas closed down 0.14 percent. Puma and Under Armour were up 1.7
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percent and 0.7 percent, respectively“It’s an isolated incident right now,” Brian Yarbrough, consumer research analyst at financial services firm Edward Jones, said in a phone interview.
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“I think it does very little to the brand. It’s unfortunate that his knee got hurt, but I think it’s pretty minuscule in the grand scheme of things. This is one product, it’s one shoe line,
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and there are thousands of others. You think about the number of hours people play in these shoes, and this is pretty insignificant.”
Nike moved swiftly Wednesday night to promise an investigation into just what caused Williamson’s shoe to come apart during one of the most highly anticipated
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college basketball games of the season and on ESPN’s national telecast to boot. Among those in attendance in Durham, N.C., was former president Barack Obama, who was captured
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on video declaring, “His shoe broke.”