Duke star Zion Williamson went down with a knee injury on Wednesday night after his shoe exploded.

By Jenna West
February 21, 2019

The world stopped turning on its axis briefly on Wednesday night when Duke star Zion Williamson's shoe exploded.

Williamson slipped about 30 seconds into the Blue Devils' game against rival UNC and then...POOF! A busted Nike sent the freshman tumbling down. He grabbed his knee and eventually hobbled to the locker room, never to return to the game. Coach Mike Krzyzewski confirmed after the game that Williamson suffered a sprained knee and is not expected to miss significant playing time.

The world, which resumed turning, collectively let out a giant sight of relief that Williamson's injury wasn't worse.

While college basketball is still reeling from this crazy mishap, it's unfortunately not the first time an exploding sneaker has taken down a basketball player.

Here's a look back at a few incidents in recent years, including a particularly troubling 2014 season for Nike.

Manu Ginobili: The Spurs star went to plant his foot to stop Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey when his foot went throught the sole of his shoe. Ginobili made his way to the bench wearing his Nike around his ankle like it was an accessory.

Andrew Bogut: The busted Nike trend of 2014 continued with Bogut's foot ripping right through his shoe in a game against the Hawks. He ended up giving the faulty sneaker to a fan attending the game. (You can see the mishap at around the 1:50 mark in the video below.)

Tony Wroten: The entire sole of Wroten's Jordan X's fell off as he ran towards the basket. He kept running for a second before realizing what happened, only to turn around and see the rubber sole on the court.

Andrew Gordon: In 2016, Gordon's sneaker literally burst at the seams during the second half of a game against the 76ers. The rip started at the toe and worked its way around the right side of the shoe.

Basketball players aren't the only ones to experience an exploding shoe fiasco. Lions guard Frank Ragnow missed a snap against the Vikings in Week 16 last season for the same reason. After planting his foot to block a run play, the sole of Ragnow's cleat came off and trainers came onto the field thinking he was injured. One of the trainers ended up running to his locker to grab him a new pair of cleats.

Professional runners have suffered some shoe mishaps as well. Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge spent much of the 2015 Berlin Marathon with the insoles in his Nikes slipping around inside his shoes. He still managed to win the race but finished just seconds shy from the world record that was set the year before. Kipchoge was testing a prototype of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, which he later wore to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016 and then set the world record of 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

In 1993, Olympic gold medalist Qunicy Watts lost the sole of his customized Nike sneakers during the 400-meter final at the 1993 World Championships in Germany. Nike's marketing manager for running Tom Hartge later said he lost sleep over the incident and called it "embarrassing." Watts was understandably upset as well.

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