There's a new high-priced basketball shoe on the market that claims to increase a player's vertical leap by up to three-and-a-half inches. That's a bold statement, and one that now doesn't necessarily need to be proven by the company in order for it to be successful.
The NBA has banned the shoes -- known as the Concept 1's -- which are made and sold by a company called Athletic Propulsion Labs. Now, that doesn't prove that the shoes work as advertised, but it certainly won't hurt the company in its efforts to market the alleged performance-enhancing footwear to young ballers everywhere.
Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) was notified of the ban by a senior NBA official, who (according to a press release) gave "undue competitive advantage" as the primary reason:
"League rules regulate the footwear that players may wear during an NBA game. Under league rules, players may not wear any shoe during a game 'that creates an undue competitive advantage (e.g., to increase a player's vertical leap). In light of that rule ... players will not be permitted to wear the APL shoes during NBA games."
The shoes have a "spring-based propulsion system" built into the front of the shoe, which is the likely reason for the ban -- whether it actually helps you achieve that extra few inches of vertical or not.
Not surprisingly, the company is already taking full advantage of the publicity. APL's website has a picture of the shoes stamped with "Banned By The NBA" in big red letters right on the front page, with a large "BUY NOW" button just to the left of it. The site was down for a while, but according to Adam Goldston (one of the company's co-founders), taking the site down wasn't some kind of publicity stunt; the company simply wasn't ready for this much attention.
"We were ready for a large amount of traffic, but not to be the #1 story in the world," Goldston said via his Twitter account. "We prepared as best as we could."
The fact that the shoes have been banned by the league means that the company won't have any professional players signing on for endorsement deals. But the free, anti-endorsement that the NBA gave by banning them in the first place might prove to be more valuable than any amount of paid advertising.