Nike target of Twitter storm after basketball star's shoe splits

Duke University star Zion Williamson falling during the first half of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium, on Feb 20, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

NORTH CAROLINA (BLOOMBERG) - Nike became a target of jokes when a star US college basketball player sprained a knee mid-game because one of his shoes split during play.

Duke University star Zion Williamson limped off the court after the mishap during the game against his school's arch rival University of North Carolina.

Twitter lit up with jibes and jeers aimed at the No. 1 sports brand, pushing the keyword Zion to the top of the worldwide trending list as of Wednesday night; Duke followed and Nike came fourth.

Former President Barack Obama, courtside at the high-profile clash, was shown on video appearing to say with an incredulous look: "His shoe broke!"

"We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery," Nike said by e-mail. "While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue."

Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain, according to Duke's coach Mike Krzyzewski.

This isn't the first time that Nike's had problems with their basketball merchandise. After taking over as the official NBA uniform supplier in 2017, multiple stars including LeBron James had their jerseys rip.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.