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Slam|November - December 2020
ATHLETIC PROPULSION LABS’ first basketball sneaker got banned from the NBA because it gave wearers an “advantage.” The brothers who launched the company have returned to the game 10 years later, with a duo of brand new sneakers.
MAX RESETAR

MONTHS HAD gone by. They said it would just be a day, maybe two, before they heard back. But nope. It had been months since twin brothers Ryan and Adam Goldston met with the NBA in late July of 2010. The brothers had to get their new basketball sneakers approved by the League before players could wear them on-court. But weeks and weeks and weeks passed. Ryan still has excitement in his voice all these years later when he talks about it.

“Adam and I were high school basketball players,” he says. “Our high school team won the Southern California Championship. We played in college at SC. Our dream growing up was literally to be in SLAM.”

The brothers didn’t make it to SLAM as ballplayers. They made it as businessmen. They used all the money they had to buy an ad in SLAM to launch APL, their sneaker company. Athletic Propulsion Labs was meant to be the pinnacle of basketball performance footwear.

That was the only paid advertisement they did. And it worked.

“You have these NBA players and their agents reaching out to us,” Ryan continues. “We ended up getting invited to the NBA Finals when the Lakers were playing the Celtics, 2010. We ran into David Stern and Adam Silver. We were talking to them about APL and the shoes and they said, If you guys want any NBA players to wear it, you have to come to meet with the NBA prior to August 1 of the upcoming season to show them the product and make sure you get approvals.”

The APL Concept 1 was a performance monster, highlighted by Goldston's proprietary Load ’N Launch technology. Load ’N Launch is a forefoot spring pad. The “Load” part happens when a player jumps, compressing the springs. Then the “Launch” comes in the form of a release at the moment of liftoff. The kicks, simply speaking, gave wearers stupid bunnies.

The brothers’ initial idea for APL was to be on the “highest end of the performance spectrum,” according to Ryan. APL ended up flying too high for the League.

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