If these shoes work, the NBA has to ban them

September, 8, 2010
9/08/10
5:45
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard has been testing out some shoes that claim they can make you jump higher, thanks to some kind of high-tech spring built into the sole.

The NBA may ban them -- which would surely be amazing for sales, as a powerful endorsement of their magical powers. Ballard writes:
From a recreational standpoint, there's no obvious downside. After all, who doesn't want to jump a little higher? At the NBA level, it's a different matter. If the APL shoes work as advertised -- and that's a big if -- they could theoretically provide an unfair competitive advantage to the players who wear them, making them essentially Performance Enhancing Footwear. So last month Stu Jackson and his lieutenants met with the founders of APL to determine whether or not the NBA should ban the shoes, a step last taken by the league in 1985, when it outlawed Air Jordans (though in that case because of the color scheme). To date, the NBA has yet to make a ruling on the Concept 1's --according to a league spokesperson, "we are currently reviewing the product technology to determine if it is in compliance with NBA rules."

At issue, of course, is the only question that matters, for NBAers and pick-up players alike: Do the shoes actually work? Last month, my editors asked me to find out. I contacted APL and, a week later, a pair of Concept 1's arrived in the mail.
Ballard has results, in prose and video.

Whoever it is at the NBA who has to assess if these shoes offer an unfair advantage or not, I feel for them. Robotics, jet propulsion, you name it ... There will be a ton more of these kinds of devices coming down the pike, and what is normal athletic wear compared to what is cheating is going to get tricky as hell over the next few decades. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

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