Nike's stock falls after Duke star is hurt as his sneaker comes apart

Nike is playing damage control after Duke basketball phenom Zion Williamson tore his sneaker in a game Wednesday evening.Nike's stock was down more th...

Posted: Feb 21, 2019 1:50 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2019 3:15 PM

Nike is playing damage control after Duke basketball phenom Zion Williamson tore his sneaker in a game Wednesday evening.

Nike's stock was down more than 1% on Thursday. Nike builds its reputation around creating premier shoes and clothes for athletes, but that image took a hit with Williamson's sneaker snafu.

Analysts attributed the stock move to Williamson, the presumptive top pick in this year's NBA draft and the hottest prospect since LeBron James entered the draft from high school more than a decade ago. Within the first minute of Duke's blockbuster matchup against rival North Carolina on Wednesday, one of Williamson's Nike PG2.5 shoes split apart.

Williamson left the game with a knee injury. Former President Barack Obama was sitting courtside, and clips of Williamson breaking his shoe and Obama pointing to it immediately went viral.

Nike, which exclusively supplies Duke's basketball team with uniforms, shoes and gear, quickly released a statement.

'The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance,' the company said. 'While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.'

Endorsement deals with star athletes, including LeBron James and Serena Williams, and sponsorships with pro sports leagues and top college basketball and football teams are a crucial part of Nike's growth strategy.

Nike spent $11.5 billion, nearly a third of its sales, on marketing and endorsement contracts last year. Nike and its Jordan brand sponsored 85 men's and women's basketball teams in last year's annual NCAA tournament.

In its annual securities filing, Nike warned that 'negative claims or publicity involving us' from key endorsers or sponsors can 'seriously damage our reputation and brand image.' It added another risk: 'Social media, which accelerates and potentially amplifies the scope of negative publicity, can increase the challenges of responding to negative claims.'

Still, analysts don't predict the Williamson incident to damage Nike's reputation in the long run. Nike's products haven't had any major malfunctions in the past, except for some NBA jerseys briefly ripping in 2017.

'This is embarrassing for Nike, but will have no material impact on the business,' said Matt Powell, analyst at NPD Group.

Nike has also reduced its dependence on high-top basketball sneakers for growth in recent years. It has instead focused on lightweight running and wear-to-work shoes.

Nike's basketball sneaker sales fell last year as consumers move away from performance sneakers to more casual and comfortable shoes. 'Basketball shoes are not in fashion,' Powell said. 'Athleisure footwear is in style.'

Patrick Rishe, the sports business director at Washington University in St. Louis, called Williamson's sneaker break a freak accident.

'Nike is a massive brand and has tremendous power,' he said. 'If they're smart, they'll reach out to Zion and have him wear their shoes again.'

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 114236

Reported Deaths: 3548
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21067764
Lake10397321
Elkhart6477109
St. Joseph6312105
Allen6113201
Hamilton4803109
Vanderburgh353630
Hendricks2694123
Monroe253136
Tippecanoe234713
Johnson2291123
Clark218756
Porter210546
Cass19399
Delaware191861
Vigo180324
Madison161975
LaPorte140540
Floyd135161
Howard129263
Warrick123436
Kosciusko121117
Bartholomew115557
Marshall99724
Dubois96418
Boone96046
Hancock91743
Grant90334
Noble90032
Henry79326
Wayne75114
Jackson7469
Morgan70938
Shelby66829
Daviess65828
Dearborn64728
LaGrange63411
Clinton59514
Harrison56624
Putnam54211
Knox5139
Lawrence51028
Montgomery50721
Gibson4964
White48314
DeKalb46811
Decatur45839
Miami4313
Greene42235
Fayette41913
Jasper3902
Steuben3787
Scott36711
Sullivan33312
Posey3160
Jennings31212
Franklin30325
Clay2995
Orange28824
Ripley2878
Carroll27313
Wabash2638
Washington2631
Whitley2617
Starke2597
Adams2553
Wells2513
Jefferson2473
Fulton2352
Spencer2283
Huntington2253
Tipton22122
Perry21613
Randolph2117
Jay1760
Newton17211
Owen1681
Martin1640
Rush1544
Pike1431
Vermillion1270
Fountain1202
Pulaski1161
Blackford1143
Brown1043
Crawford1040
Parke972
Benton880
Ohio787
Union780
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 147744

Reported Deaths: 4715
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin26545606
Cuyahoga17327656
Hamilton12953315
Montgomery7667157
Lucas7230364
Butler5838110
Summit5237252
Marion308347
Mahoning3030281
Warren300249
Stark2817170
Pickaway264444
Lorain229586
Delaware221620
Fairfield206752
Columbiana192480
Licking189863
Trumbull1876132
Wood180472
Clark177740
Clermont167923
Lake160850
Medina145139
Greene142032
Allen140869
Miami140751
Portage111666
Mercer110118
Erie93246
Tuscarawas92820
Wayne91967
Ross86823
Richland83919
Madison80212
Darke78442
Belmont71827
Geauga71348
Hancock68610
Ashtabula65548
Athens6532
Lawrence64122
Shelby61010
Auglaize5859
Putnam57923
Sandusky55820
Huron5427
Union5152
Scioto4896
Ottawa46930
Seneca46414
Preble43015
Muskingum3922
Holmes3857
Jefferson3354
Logan3083
Henry30613
Champaign3023
Perry2939
Defiance28811
Clinton28613
Brown2842
Knox28215
Washington25823
Morrow2572
Hardin25213
Jackson2466
Fulton2411
Ashland2364
Coshocton23311
Crawford2316
Fayette2286
Highland2223
Wyandot20812
Williams2063
Gallia18913
Pike1790
Meigs17410
Guernsey1678
Hocking1619
Carroll1527
Adams1264
Van Wert1163
Monroe11018
Paulding1070
Harrison632
Morgan470
Vinton473
Noble280
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 78°
Angola
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 78°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 76°
Decatur
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 79°
Sunny, Pleasant Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events