Ahead of Zion Williamson's return last night, there were reports that the Duke big man would wear the Nike Kyrie 4 instead of the PG 2.5s he'd worn during the sneaker blowout seen 'round the world. Sure enough, Williamson did end up wearing the Kyrie 4, but it wasn't the standard version of the shoes found on retail shelves.
Instead, Nike reportedly sent a team of specialists down to Durham, North Carolina, to meet with Williamson the day after the mishap. Per Sports Illustrated's Jonathan Jones, Duke head coach Michael Krzyzewski said that Nike flew its "top people" to Duke, where they analyzed Zion's game and the way shoes performed under his 280-plus pound frame. They then took the findings to China where they oversaw the manufacturing of a more resilient and stable sneaker, which was the revamped Kyrie 4 worn by Williamson last night.
Williamson was also asked about his new sneakers during his post game press conference following Thursday night's contest. "The shoes were incredible this game," Williamson told CBS's Kevin Skiver. The college phenom was also asked about the specific changes Nike made to the pair. "I couldn't really specifically tell you if I wanted to," he said. "I just know they're a little stronger than the regular Kyrie 4s, so I want to thank Nike for making these, but, yeah, they felt very comfortable."
So far, so good for Williamson's new sneakers, as the prospect shot a perfect 13-for-13 from the field with 29 points and an additional 14 rebounds. After dropping Syracuse last night, Zion and the Blue Devils will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels tomorrow for the rivalry game everyone's been waiting to see.
Nike has yet to respond to Sole Collector's inquiry for comment at this time.