Credit: Twitter

When Nike falls, they fall hard and in its latest incident thrusting the sporting giant into the critics spotlight, competing brands are firing shots too.

In late February, NBA draft prospect Zion Williamson took a dramatic tumble during a game where he blew straight through the seam of his Nike sneaker, 34 seconds into the first quarter. With Barack Obama in the crowd, it was less than ideal as the player was forced to retire to the locker room with an injured knee. As expected, the internet almost broke.

Despite an official statement addressing the event, Nike has yet to confirm what indeed happened with the shoe. Was it a design flaw or manufacturing issue? Either way, other brands are looking to make bank off the misfortune – and Sketchers are at the forefront.

Overtaking social media as well as emblazoned across major newspapers in the US – think the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post – Sketchers posted a bold advert reading, “JUST BLEW IT. Sketchers. We won’t split on you.” Accompanied by a picture of a split pair of basketballs sneakers, is this just good marketing or a dirty play from the American lifestyle brand? Puma Basketball also hit back on Nike, with a now deleted Twitter post saying, “Wouldn’t have happened in Pumas.”

As part of the Nike-sponsored Duke team, Williamson is required to wear Nike shoes throughout the season but as a favourite to join the 2019 NBA draft, he will have to rely on a speedy recovery as to his future play.

Stay tuned for more on the matter.