Released June 2018, Nike PG 2.5 by Paul George “took cues from both of George’s signature Nike models.”

The description of the shoe on Nike’s website reads as follows “PG 2.5 is designed for the game’s most versatile players. It’s light yet strong with a supportive strap and comfortable cushioning that responds to every fast and focused step, in a package built for summer gaming (on both the courts and the sticks).”

“We wanted to refresh the silhouette and keep evolving it. Paul wanted to put the strap from the PG1 on it, and this allowed us to approach the element in a different way. Instead of incorporating Flywire as we did on the original, we conceived a new strap for the PG 2.5 built from a new webbing.” —Tony Hardman, Designer, Nike.

In last night’s game between Duke and North Carolina, the team wore a custom version of the PG 2.5. So, what caused the shoe to fall apart when Williamson hit the ground on his left foot? Was it a manufacturing defect? Was the shoe not designed for his height and weight? Or all of the above and more?

From a product designers viewpoint, materials + manufacturing are most likely the culprits, but the Nike brand has a giant fallout to deal with and to investigate thoroughly. Head’s may roll but what about Williamson and the future of his playing career? What about his teammates?  They, too, were given Nike PG 2.5 to wear during play.

College athletic departments sign lucrative contracts with giants like Nike to receive millions of dollars in free product and, in turn, the brand — in this case, Nike — is able to add another contract to their stable of inked deals. There’s no benefit for the players. They wear what they’re told to wear and trust that the products work.

The loser here isn’t Nike or Duke, it’s Williamson and his teammates.

Photos courtesy Nike