Ryan and Adam Goldston are 5’11” 23 year-old basketball lovers who dreamed of dunking, but their legs said, “Sorry.” Their longing to jam took them down the entrepreneur path, and they developed a dunking shoe for guys with no hops.
Their company, Athletic Propulsion Labs, has designed and built shoes with tiny internal springs that they claim can add 3.5 inches to an average jumper’s elevation and as much as 8 inches to the leap of a top athlete.
They sent their shoes to the NBA office to ask for permission to solicit the endorsement of players in the League but were turned down. Their rejection was their beautiful “please don’t throw me in the briar patch” opportunity. They trumpeted the NBA denial as the ultimate endorsement of the bounce in the shoe. If the shoe would give a player an “unfair” advantage, every playground jumper would have to have it. When the NBA stated its decision, they sold out their entire stock overnight.
It was a little reminiscent of the Michael Jordan marketing coup with Nike’s Air Jordan shoe back in 1985. NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed the shoe because it was not made for the Chicago Bulls uniform. Nike then used the rejection to make the shoe a footwear franchise bonanza.
It sounds similar to grooved irons in golf, aluminum bats in baseball, and the recently outlawed leg tights popularized by Kobe Bryant.
The story makes me think of the inventive guys in the machining business who are always searching for their “unfair advantage.”
With my gimpy knees I’m going to buy me a pair of those new high-tech jumpers.
Question: Should the NBA ban these innovative shoes?