The Duke Blue Devils’ Zion Williamson’s expected star-turn in the highly-anticipated game against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday was cut short after just 36 seconds thanks to a blown-out shoe.
The freshman player limped off the basketball court with a knee injury following a slip that appeared to rip his Nike sneaker apart at the seams.
Check out the video here:
“We’re very concerned about Zion,” Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said, per ABC News, after the team’s 88-72 loss. “It’s a mild knee sprain. We will know about length of time tomorrow. It’s stable. Obviously it has an impact. You lose the National Player of the Year on the first play.”
Former President Barack Obama, who was in attendance sporting a black bomber jacket bearing the number “44,” appeared as stunned as anyone when the shoe fell apart:
He later wished Williamson “a speedy recovery.”
Rival sportswear company Puma reportedly pounced on the mishap with a misjudged tweet, which was later deleted:
NBA stars, including Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, also commented on Williamson’s shoe trouble, which occurred early in a game for which some spectators had paid up to $10,000 a seat to attend.
A Nike spokesman said the company was “obviously concerned” about the incident and was “working to identify an issue” that led to the “isolated occurrence.”
“The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance,” he added in an email to The Washington Post.
The statement didn’t stop Twitter wags from mocking the company, however: