by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17
Over a six-week period (extended due to Hurricane Sandy) and two locations (Basketball City in Lower Manhattan and St. John’s University’s Carnesecca Arena), myself and some other NY-based media members were invited by Nike to take part in an “elite, elevated basketball training” experience.
With LeBron X+s on our feet and iPhones or iPod touches in our hands, we were given, as Nike’s original invite stated, “a platform to track your personal game—minute-to-minute and week-to-week—and take the feedback of our top-tier coaching and training staff into your game between sessions and in the future, wherever else you may hoop. We will also integrate insight into some other elements of athletic training for optimum performance—nutrition, flexibility and more.”
Like pretty much every shoe in the LeBron line, I—a “player” who favors support versus light-weight, and happens to be a massive fan of the shoe’s namesake—loved the Xs from the first moment I saw them. I was given the Olympic colorway, which look great and are very comfortable to play in. I don’t think I’m exactly the guy the Nike folks had in mind when they devised the technology that tracks players’ vertical leaps, but the game tracking function is cool, and, as SJU head coach Steve Lavin said to me when he reviewed my stats at the last training session, “looks like your hustle numbers are really good.” Translation: at least I was running around the court a lot.
Coach Lav was just one of the guests who graced the training sessions. We also got a visit from longtime friend of SLAM’s and current Knicks shooting coach Dave Hopla, while each session was led by ace trainer Dary “D-Trained” Smith and capped off with a healthy meal prepared by Chef Max Hardy.
The above pics, provided courtesy of Nike, give a taste of what the fulfilling sessions were like. By the way, I was given #0. Not sure if they were trying to tell me something : ).