Sports & Technology Don't Mix? NBA Bans Sneaker For Giving Players ‘Competitive Advantage’

Are sports organizations beginning to turn away from technology? (Which is hilarious, because only now is international soccer willing to look into goal-line technology!) The NBA, which I believe I’m correct in saying is the second most popular sports league in the U.S. (behind the NFL, obviously), has banned the use of the Concept 11 shoe. The shoe, created by Athletic Propulsion Labs, would appear to violate the league’s rule against “unfair competitive advantage,” specifically as it relates to leaping ability. Flubber, anyone?

Of course, this may be a blessing in disguise for Athletic Propulsion Labs, since now it has people who would never have heard of them in the past, i.e. me, talking about them.

The shoes are still available—there’s a proud banner on the company’s Web site that proclaims the shoe BANNED BY THE NBA—for $300. I, myself, have never bought a $300 pair of shoes, much less basketball sneakers, but never say never.

The actual technology in question is called Load ‘N Launch, and Athletic Propulsion Labs claim it will “[make] you jump higher instantly.”

Obviously the NBA isn’t going to allow that type of product on its courts.

But if the NBA is putting its foot down, why haven’t other sports?

Let’s be honest: the only real sport I follow is soccer (well, and Formula 1), and the various leagues around Europe don’t seem to have a problem with year in, year out uniform, boot, and ball improvements. The Adidas TechFit kit, for example, has these elastic-like strips in them that store otherwise wasted energy, ready to be released the next time a player sprints. Let’s say it’s Real Madrid v. Barcelona, and Gonzalo Higuaín is wearing a TechFit kit: is that fair to Gerard Piqué or Carles Puyol to have to be dealing with a player who has “extra energy” stored up?

I mean, if the league have no problem with it then it’d be a waste of everyone’s time to complain about it, but I’m just pointing it out that everyday I see what appears to be competitive advantage all over Europe.

Something to think about as we watch Liverpool lose to Napoli in a few hours.