By Ryan Hoover
Last decade, baseball was tarnished by the discovery and incriminating reports of steroid and human growth hormone use by its players. However, baseball is now joined by basketball which is being introduced to its own performance enhancement device, the Concept 1 basketball shoe by Athletic Propulsion Labs.
Last month, the National Basketball Association banned the use of the Concept 1 because “under league rules, players may not wear any shoe during a game that creates an undue, competitive advantage.”
In the Concept 1, APL is introducing a new shoe technology called the “Load ‘N Launch” pad, which essentially is a spring located on the ball of the foot.
Asserted to increase the average player’s vertical leap by three inches, the idea behind the shoe is the sensors on the sole which channel energy throughout the foot and send the energy to the “Load ‘N Launch” pad via a “Thermoplastic Urethane shank” running along the arch of the foot.
One issue with the superhuman technology is the credibility of the product that has undergone testing in Taiwan.
Chris Ballard, a writer for “Sports Illustrated,” tested the shoes himself and found no obvious change in his overall leaping and playing ability. He did report a slight increase in two-foot jumping and an edge on defense but stated the immobility of the shank create an uncomfortable feel.
While a ban from the NBA restricts players from promoting APL’s new shoe, the announcement has made the shoes more popular.
APL’s website featured a new homepage that read: “Because of the NBA ban announcement, we are experiencing an enormous amount of traffic.” Along with traditional photos of shoes, “Banned by the NBA” is now stamped on top. The controversial brand also created a clothing line of shirts and shorts featuring the company’s name and the glorification of the restrictions.
The ban has had a positive affect for APL as the Goldston brothers are milking the prohibition, offering free shipping on “all NBA-banned Concept 1” orders.