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Malfunctioning kicks could kick in insurance payout

Duke Zion Williamson Nike NBA

An exploding sneaker could trigger a devilish insurance payout for a college basketball star.

Zion Williamson, a forward for the Duke University Blue Devils who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft, suffered a knee sprain when his shoe malfunctioned in front of thousands of fans – some of whom paid Super Bowl-like prices for their seats because the indoor stadium only has about 9,300 seats – in a game against archrival North Carolina on Wednesday. Those fans included former President Barack Obama – not sure what he paid for his courtside seat.  

Bu no need to worry about Mr. Williamson’s finances. He has an $8 million loss-of-value insurance policy that kicks in if he falls past No. 16 in the draft – a policy that Duke reportedly paid for. The injury is considered relatively minor and Mr. Williamson is not expected to drop that far in the draft – if he even does fall – although it has sparked a debate about whether he should sit the rest of the college basketball season to avoid risking a mega payout in the NBA. Last year’s No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton could earn up to $41.2 million in his first deal with the Phoenix Suns.

Sports fans in the investment community were unhappy with Nike Inc., the maker of Mr. Williamson’s shoes, expressing their displeasure by sending the company’s shares down more than 1% early Thursday.

This Syracuse University alum is hoping Mr. Williamson takes at least one more game off to heal. The Blue Devils play the Orange on Saturday in Syracuse.



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