It's been nearly a month since Zion Williamson's sneaker blowout heard 'round the world. Which honestly seems pretty crazy, considering how fresh the failure of the Duke forward's PG 2.5 shoes is in our collective memory. Still, the incident happened all the way back on February 20, leaving the 6'7", 285-pound player with a sprained knee and an extended stint off the court-and giving Nike more than enough time to ensure his new shoes don't suffer the same fate.
Williamson hit the hardwood last night wearing a different style than the ill-fated pair from last month: the Kyrie 4. According to Dan Wolken of USA Today, who spoke with Duke's Coach K (aka Mike Krzyzewski) about the new kicks, Nike sent its "top people" to Durham after Williamson's shoes bit the dust. ESPN's Allison Williams reports that they were there to measure and fit the new custom sneakers to Williamson. That same team then went to China to oversee the actual production of the shoes. It seems Nike was very serious about lightning not striking twice.
It also seems the Swoosh's efforts paid off. For one thing, Williamson's shoes didn't explode last night (though that's a pretty low bar to clear). More telling, in all likelihood, is the quote the hotly tipped NBA prospect gave to Wolken after he led Duke to a 84-72 victory over Syracuse: "The shoes were incredible this game."
Basketball sneaker sales are down across the board, and according to NPD Group's Matt Powell, are expected to continue to dip in 2019. That means Nike really needed a win, even if only in the short term. Last night, it got one.
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