"Nike – a mega-merchant in the twenty-some-billion dollar athletic footwear industry – is not just selling uppers, soles, or style. They’re in the business of publicly selling basketball trade secrets and promises of greatness.
"Kobe mid-stride, with a viscous heel stike"
"While the marketing is highly effective, it’s essentially snake oil. The trade secrets are null. The promises are empty....
"Just take a quick look around the league today; it is full of players who hammer their heels into the hardwood. Here is a much-abridged list of broken-down NBA bodies:
- "Andre Iguodala: Missed a handful of games this year due to a strained Achilles’ tendon.
- "Brandon Roy: Surgery free, but only because his knees no longer have any cartilage.
- "Drew Gooden: Decided to go under the knife after being sidelined by plantar fasciitis.
- "Dwyane Wade: Chronically sore, creaky knees and bad ankles.
- "John Wall: Ongoing bout with patellar tendinitis.
- "Kobe Bryant: Do four knee surgeries and slashed practice minutes ring any bells?
- "Mehmet Okur: Still suffering from chronic disc problems in his lower back.
- "Žydrunas Ilgauskas: Plagued by foot injuries that almost ended his basketball career.
"Notice that the players listed above are all victims of non-contact injuries....
"Part of the problem is the shoes on the NBA players’ feet — more specifically, the command those lace-ups have on their strides. (But to be fair to the athletic footwear industry, they are not exactly the world’s most dangerous supervillains.) The other half of the story is the complete ignorance from training staffs, general managers, coaches, and owners across the globe. They are failing to prepare their athletes, their multimillion dollar assets, for the most timeless and fundamental aspect of sport: movement.
"You can’t even begin to underestimate the human error in all of this. It is in our collective best interest, from the casual fan to the Association’s Director of Finance, to protect the players from themselves. And yet, NBA players are not counseled to do this better. Even worse, the very thought of using running technique to empower a player with greater on-court endurance and an extended career rarely – if ever – crosses the minds of the NBA’s brain trusts....
"The tragedy is that while these injuries are much too predictable, they are entirely preventable. It’s ludicrous. It’s blind. It’s unacceptable....
This is on ESPN's website. Read the whole thing, as they say. This post is for Harry.