By LARRY VAUGHT
During No. 1 Duke’s home loss to North Carolina Wednesday, freshman Zion Williamson — the probably No. 1 pick in the June NBA draft — sprained his knee when one of the Nike shoes he was wearing literally fell apart when he was handling the basketball.
“That kid’s torque and his explosion would blow out any shoe,” Kentucky coach John Calipari, who tried to recruit Williamson, said. “When you look at it, you’re like, ‘Holy.’ He’s not 120 pounds now doing that. He’s got some weight to him.
“If you looked at it you’re like, ‘Holy cow!’”
The incident could turn into a huge money maker when it comes time to sign his rookie shoe contract. There were will tremendous pressure on Nike to sign him at any price and rival shoe companies will pay huge dollars to have a chance to get him and be able to say he wouldn’t trust Nike.
“Again, what Nike will do for him – if he decides to go with Nike – is that they would make a shoe special for him,” Calipari said. “I’d doubt if they were able to do that because he’s a college player. Now they did some stuff with Karl (Anthony) Towns because he had a 19 or 20 foot or 20-inch shoe, but his foot was like that wide (thin). So, they had to do something special for him.
“I just think that the kid (Williamson) is so unusual size-wise, explosiveness, quick twitch. I mean, I don’t care what he had on. When you saw him [makes explosion noise] it’s a wonder that both shoes didn’t blow out.”