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THE HARDWOOD — We’re getting closer to one of the most fun times of the year in sports: March Madness.
But before we get to start getting ready to fill out brackets, there are big-time college conference games needed to be played.
And there isn’t arguably a bigger rivalry in college basketball than North Carolina vs. Duke.
There have been many memorable moments between the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils. On Wednesday night, we saw another memorable moment: a player’s shoe blowing out during a game.
Less than 30 seconds into the game, Duke’s Zion Williamson — arguably the biggest college talent in years and the likely No. 1 pick in this summer’s upcoming NBA Draft — was handling the ball when he tried to plant his foot at the top of the key. What happened next was something we don’t see every day: Williamson’s shoe rips, causing him to slide and injure himself.
Zion's shoe: destroyed 😳 pic.twitter.com/LqQ2te0Jay— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 21, 2019
Williamson, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound beast of a basketball player, was on the ground in pain, as his foot was exposed after the shoe blowout.
Getty Images’ shots of Zion’s busted shoe. pic.twitter.com/H8oHjQdISI— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) February 21, 2019
The crowd was stunned. Even former President Barack Obama, who was in attendance, couldn’t believed it. His reaction:
Barack Obama pointing out the fact that Zion’s “shoe broke” will forever go down in history pic.twitter.com/pVFqEBgbFo— ment nelson (@mentnelson) February 21, 2019
“His shoe broke,” Obama said.
Williamson was out for the game and was later diagnosed with a mild knee sprain. Duke went on to lose to North Carolina, 88-72.
After the game, several players including LeBron James, tweeted support for Williamson. Former Duke and Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer tried to send his support to Williamson. But unfortunately, “Booz” failed, as he tweeted to Zion … National Park, not Williamson.
Get Well Soon @ZionNPS— Carlos Boozer (@MisterCBooz) February 21, 2019
The lovely people at the National Park Service kindly replied back to Boozer … and let him (and all) know that heavy snow and road closures were expected at Zion National Park.
Oh, Carlos. Thank you for bringing us this moment of humor.
Speedy recovery, Zion … Williamson. I’m sure the national park will be OK.