It seems like everyone has an opinion about Duke Blue Devils basketball star Zion Williamson and his Nike PG 2.5 shoe that split in half last night — including whoever runs the Twitter account for Puma Hoops.
Last night, after Williamson’s shoe malfunctioned during Duke’s game against the North Carolina Tar Heels, Puma Hoops posted on Twitter, “Wouldn’t have happened in the Pumas.” The tweet was deleted; however, screenshots are being circulated online.
And people on the social media platform were not happy about the brand’s response to the incident.
“Some junior social media employee trying to be the hero. Puma throwing shade on Nike Basketball is comical. Focus on becoming relevant first. Rookie move,” wrote user @nrandle76.
Another user, @jziernick, wrote: “Why delete the tweet? Stand up for your product….. nothing to lose with Nike taking it on the chin tonight.”
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Less than a minute into the game, Williamson’s Nike PG 2.5 sneaker split in half, and the baller dropped to the floor in pain. Williamson left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Without Williamson, Duke lost to UNC by a score of 88-72.
After the shoe-splitting incident, Nike responded with a statement (first reported on Twitter by Darren Rovell of The Action Network): “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.”
As soon as Williamson’s shoe split, Rovell pointed out on Twitter how bad the optics were for Nike.
“That the shoe blew out on National TV. That the shoe blew out for Duke-UNC. That the shoe blew out on Zion Williamson. Awful look for Nike,” Rovell wrote.
While not a good moment for the brand, The NPD Group Inc.’s senior sports industry analyst, Matt Powell, said Nike has nothing to worry about concerning sales.
“The Nike shoe malfunction last night is embarrassing for the brand but will have no material impact on the business. Basketball shoes were already out of fashion,” the expert wrote on Twitter.
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