Zion Williamson’s disaster Nike shoes from his time at Duke is going up for auction

The infamous pair of Nike PG 2.5s essentially blew up on the feet of Zion Williamson during a Duke-North Carolina matchup in 2019. 
Duke Countdown To Craziness
Duke Countdown To Craziness / Lance King/GettyImages

Are you willing to pay top dollar for basically one shoe? Okay, maybe it’s actually like one and a half of a shoe? Either way, this particular set of broken kicks will forever live in infamy for disintegrating on Zion Williamson’s feet during his collegiate career at Duke University. Even worse than that, the shoe’s malfunction cost him a full performance in the game, suffering an injury as a result.

So what brand and model was this lackluster pair of on-court sneakers? They were Nike's PG 2.5 model, which Zion was required to wear due to Duke University's contract that supplies its athletes with uniforms, footwear, apparel, and equipment. Nevertheless, Zion wasn't forced to wear this particular pair per se, rather, he made a very poor choice in selecting the PG 2.5s.

Here's the scoop. Zion had on a PE (Player-exclusive) Duke-inspired colorway of the PG 2.5s, and they looked to already be a bit disheveled and worn in. Given the absolute mountain of a man that Zion is, even in his younger days, the amount of weight, force, and explosivity he was putting on the shoes was immense. Unfortunately for Williamson, the shoes finally caved in during a 2019 game between Duke and UNC. Best described as a case of exploding shoe, even ex-President Barack Obama couldn't believe what he'd witnessed from his courtside view, mouthing the words "His shoe broke".

Nike did not escape this fiasco without suffering as a result. In fact, in the immediate aftermath, Nike's stock took a hit, declining by 1.7% in a single day. This sudden dip led to a significant loss of $1.1 billion in market value. Once Zion became free to negotiate his own sportswear endorsement deal, he inked a lucrative, multi-year contract with the Jordan Brand. No longer held up by the obligatory Nike uniform during his time at Duke, Williamson ditched the swoosh for the jumpman, which has given him three signature models to date.

Five years later, leading collectibles marketplace Goldin Co. has announced via X (formerly Twitter) that they will list the infamous pair of Zion Duke-era kicks as part of their May Elite Auction. Bidding is set to commence on Friday, May 10, with the closing price tag expected to garner a more than hefty amount.

The Zion Williamson sneaker malfunction from 2019 has evolved into a rare and coveted auction item.

According to Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Co., the highly valuable pair of sneakers is expected to be worth a minimum of $250,000. Coveted basketball kicks are no stranger to fetching large sums on the auction market, with a pair of rookie-worn Michael Jordan Nike sneakers garnering a trending value of over $500,000. Zion is no MJ, but given the shoe's unique story and one-of-a-kind availability, don't be surprised to see one rich buyer willing to drop a fair bit to acquire the collegiate relic.