by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
When it comes to sneakers, Nike has always looked to stay ahead of the competition.
In 2006, the company unveiled its Nike+ technology, originally designed for runners to be able to track their distance, pace and calories burned using compatible shoes and a separate sensor to obtain these metrics. Needless to say, it was a hit amongst runners and now the company has taken the technology a step further and integrated it into their line of basketball sneakers, albeit with a twist.
The days of buying a stand alone Nike+ chip are over as the technology has now been embedded directly into the shoe itself and the Nike Hyperdunk+ is the first shoe under the basketball umbrella to allow wearers to track their vertical leap and quickness.
The Swoosh took to Chicago’s Lincoln Park where they built an outdoor basketball court to show off the new shoe to the public and what better way to demonstrate it than with a dunk contest? Each contestants vertical leap was posted on huge outdoor screens so that fans could see just how high these guys were getting off the ground.
In the end, former Wendell Phillips Academy and Illinois State basketball product, Osiris Eldridge, won the dunk contest and had the highest vertical leap of the day at 36.9 inches. He will now move on to represent the City of Wind at the World Basketball Festival in Washington, D.C. July 13-15.
“It was great. The atmosphere was great, especially on this court that Nike just built to show off the new Hyperdunk+ technology in our shoes,” said Eldridge, who’s played overseas and in the D-League and was unaware of what his vertical leap was prior to putting on the shoes. “With workouts for the NBA and the D-League, they test our vert but at the end they never really tell us. But now I have a pretty good sense of what my vertical is even though I thought it was a little higher than what it was.”
Eldridge wowed the crowed and won the contest with a baseline-360-lob dunk that garnered all tens from the celebrity judges panel which included Chicago hoops and DePaul star Bobby Simmons, who just played for the Los Angeles Clippers this past season.
There was one dunk that Eldridge couldn’t get down that almost sent the crowd into a frenzy: a baseline, 360-between-the-legs dunk off the lob that he couldn’t connect on, though it was clear that he’s done it before.
“The ball kept slipping out of my hands and I kept catching it too late to get it through my legs, but that’s a dunk I can do. I know the fans were upset, but I can make that.”
So even though he couldn’t get it down in front of his hometown crowd, Eldridge plans to show it off in front of the world in D.C. in a couple of weeks.
Game on, World.