For the founders of a fledgling athletic-shoe company, there is only one thing better for business than having an N.B.A star endorse your new shoes: have the league say the shoes will not be allowed on its courts at all.

Bouncy Shoes

That is what has happened to Athletic Propulsion Labs, maker of a $300 shoe that the company says allows basketball players to instantly jump higher, thanks to a springlike device hidden near the front of the shoe.

“In terms of marketing, this is probably the greatest thing that could have happened to our company, because it basically blew us up overnight,” said Adam Goldston, one of the company’s 23-year-old twin co-founders.

“And it validates the claim,” added his brother, Ryan.

Just like that, Athletic Propulsion Labs had the answer it wanted. On Tuesday morning, it sent out a news release titled, “NBA Bans Basketball Shoes by Athletic Propulsion Labs Based on League Rule against ‘Undue Competitive Advantage’ That Increases a Player’s Vertical Leap.”

Within hours, word of the N.B.A.’s “ban” of the shoes spread across countless media outlets online, like Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and ESPN. The Associated Press wrote a short article. The Los Angeles-based company sold as many shoes in one day as it did in the previous month, the Goldstons said (without revealing numbers). The company’s Web site,, crashed from the demand.


Now the site’s home page features the shoes, called Concept 1, under a large red stamp reading “Banned by the NBA.” Presumably, a much larger market than the 450-player N.B.A. — the millions of others who play basketball — will be intrigued.

It was an extraordinary case study in introducing a product.

My Take

Now thats what you call blessing in disguise++