What it feels like playing with the future of basketball on your feet

Anton Roxas on Jan 17, 2019 03:57 PM
Playing with the future of basketball on your feet
Anton Roxas of ABS-CBN Sports was one of the first Filipinos to have played basketball wearing the Nike Adapt BB.

I’ve loved basketball my whole life. As a kid, I used to dribble the ball in the driveway of my house, pretending that I was playing against Michael Jordan. Yes, I dreamt about playing in the NBA.

My dreams were that crazy.

But, even though the vision I had of myself in a New York Knicks jersey never came to be, my love for the game remained. It’s because of that same love that I chose a career as a sportscaster. I wanted to stay connected to the game that has inspired me and millions of people around the world. Sometimes, this strong passion for basketball can take you to amazing places.

Places like New York City.

Yesterday, Nike unveiled the most futuristic basketball shoe ever made – The Nike Adapt BB.

Today, I, along with other media from across the world were given a chance to play basketball in them. It was the culmination of an unforgettable two-day event organized by Nike. So, after learning about the technology of the shoe and meeting the astonishing minds who created it, it was time to take the Nike Adapt BB for a test drive.

We arrived at 1133 6th Avenue where the NBA Players Association Court was situated. And as we went upstairs to get suited up for what would turn out to be the most memorable pick-up game of my life, I was blown away by what I saw.

 

It was the most high-tech locker room I have ever seen. Dimly lit with blue LED lights that identified the Media outlet each one of us was representing. To see, “ABS-CBN” on my locker gave me so much pride, especially because come June, I will have spent a decade working for the company. I probably love my job as much as I love basketball. This to me, was an opportunity of a lifetime. I had to represent well.

After changing into sports attire, I put the Nike Adapt BB on my feet and immediately adjusted the fit using the phone it was connected to. And then, I proceeded to picking one of the 14 color choices and went with “Hero Blue”. Having that type of technology on me, I felt like Captain America. I was ready to take charge.

As we proceeded onto the NBPA Court, we were met by a coach who led us through a series of warm-up drills. At this point, I realized how great the shoes were because I did not feel any discomfort. I also think Nike made the right choice to make the shoe low-cut to make sure it wouldn’t be too heavy considering the technology it had at the base of the shoe. I asked the legendary Eric Avar, Vice President and Creative Director of Nike Innovation and a primary designer of the Kobe Bryant line how they came up with the decision to make the Nike Adapt BB a low top shoe.

“We went back and forth on that but more and more athletes are wearing low top shoes and it gets well into 60% of the NBA. So, we thought it was appropriate to start with the low top product.”

There were 20 media members participating in the trial run. We were divided into four teams and my team was lined up to play in the second game. I couldn’t wait to see how the Nike Adapt BB would perform in an actual game. After a few minutes, I finally got my chance.

The coach told our team to shoot for possession and I stepped up to the plate. I rattled the free-throw in and proceeded to receiving the inbound pass. As soon as I got the ball, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I dribbled the ball up toward the half-court line when I was met by a defender, so, I made a hesitation move towards my right and took two power dribbles to the basket.

“One-Zip!” yelled the coach.

As I was running down the court to get back on defense, I thought about how the traction of the shoe allowed me to accelerate and score. I also thought, “So, that’s what ‘power-lacing’ is all about.”

A lot of my movements involve side-stepping, pivoting, spinning and not once in the game did I slip. I felt like the Nike Adapt BB held my feet down really well and it was also getting familiar to my style of play. Power is something I use a lot in basketball and I feel like having the most advanced technology ever put in a basketball shoe took my game to another level. I was running towards the rim relentlessly almost every time I got the basketball. At times, I thought of myself as RoboCop. Protected by machinery in the form of a basketball shoe.

Our team ended up winning the game, 11-4. I scored 8 points but the icing on the cake was the coach coming over to me enthusiastically and saying, “You can play, man!”

When he said that, I remembered the famous quote of Bill Bowerman, the first business partner of Nike founder Phil Knight. Bowerman says, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Nike is one of the greatest brands in the world. And the way they treated us these past two days reflects their mission which is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Not only do they consider us athletes, they also made us feel like heroes.

The future of basketball is here. What a time to be alive.

The Nike Adapt BB will release in February at Nike Park Fort, Titan Two Parkade, and Titan22.com. Retail price is PHP 17,495.

 

 

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