Sneaker malfunction puts Nike in the spotlight

Nike is in full damage-control mode after one of its sneakers - belonging to college basketball sensation Zion Williamson - split open just 36 seconds into a highly anticipated match-up between Duke and North Carolina.

Making matters worse, Williamson – who's expected to be the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA Draft – left Wednesday night's game with a right knee injury.

In a statement, Nike said it's investigating what happened, adding: "We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery."

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Zion Williamson suffers knee injury after shoe 'explodes'
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Zion Williamson suffers knee injury after shoe 'explodes'
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) falls to the court under North Carolina's Luke Maye (32), injuring himself and damaging his shoe during the opening moments of the game in the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) falls to the floor with an injury while chasing the ball with North Carolina's Luke Maye (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke forward Zion Williamson holds his knee after injuring himself and damaging his shoe during the opening moments of the game in the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 20: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after falling as his shoe breaks against Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 20: A detailed view of the shoe worn by Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils picks up his broken shoe in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke's Zion Williamson sits on the floor following an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina, in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Duke might have to figure out what the Zion Show will look like without its namesake. All because of a freak injury to arguably the most exciting player in college basketball. As his Nike shoe blew out, Williamson sprained his right knee on the first possession of what became top-ranked Duke's 88-72 loss to No. 8 North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A trainer holds Duke's Zion Williamson's shoes after Williamson left the game due to an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Duke might have to figure out what the Zion Show will look like without its namesake. All because of a freak injury to arguably the most exciting player in college basketball. As his Nike shoe blew out, Williamson sprained his right knee on the first possession of what became top-ranked Duke's 88-72 loss to No. 8 North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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The shoe malfunction sent Twitter into a frenzy, with many users noting the extreme visibility of the incident, as the game was one of the of the most watched of the college basketball season.

Even former President Barack Obama attended the high-profile event, and video of him sitting courtside appeared to show him saying: "His shoe broke."

Later on Twitter, he also wished a speedy recovery to Williamson, whose team went on to lose the game.

Shares of Nike fell more than 1% in early Thursday trading.

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