Arnie Kander, the Detroit Pistons’ longtime strength and conditioning coach, says he’s never seen as many ankle, knee and groin injuries as he has this season. And he’s not kidding. From opening night to mid-December, three different Pistons guards — Richard Hamilton(notes), Ben Gordon(notes) and Will Bynum(notes) — all missed time thanks to buggered ankles. What’s that sayin’? Two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend.
So, like any good NBA trainer who moonlights as a private investigator, Kander donned his deerstalker hat and overcoat, smoked a pipe, and quickly figured out that it was a specific brand of sneakers — *COUGH* Nike Hyperizes *COUGH* — that were making the Pistons’ ankles go lame.
Case closed; shoes banned.
“I’m not going to name the brand of shoe it was [Ed. note: Woops!], but it has been banned from our locker room and the guys aren’t allowed to wear it,” Kander said. “These shoes had taken most of the support out of the sides and it was a lighter shoe. Most basketball shoes weigh between 1.4 and 1.7 pounds.”
“These shoes were weighing 0.8 pounds, which was way too light as far as side support. Since we’ve banned the shoe, knock on wood, we haven’t had any ankle sprains. Hopefully, the good Lord willing, we won’t have any more and we can finish the season healthy and see what these guys can really do.
Kander, who once referred to current basketball shoes as glorified “moccasins,” takes his players ankles very serious. In fact, the Pistons actually fine members of the team who don’t tape their ankles because it has shown to be so effective in preventing injury. Kander’s hardcore — his ankles have mustaches.
Note: I can’t for the life of me find a photo of Hamilton wearing the aforementioned Hyperize kicks. Sneakerhead, and Kix in the City CEO, Rich MaZe Lopez says Rip, being a Jordan Brand athlete, rocks only Air Jordan retros or Team Jordans. Can we blame Michael, too, Kander?