It’s In the Shoes, Man
Ektio’s ankle support technology aims to prolong basketball careers.
by Aaron Maisel / photos courtesy of Ektio
Unlike other basketball kicks, Ektio isn’t competing for which big shot NBA player is rocking their sneakers in a game. But the shoe with clinically tested technology designed to prevent ankle sprains could turn some heads and prolong some basketball careers.
The shoe, created by doctors Barry Katz, Tom Nordstrom and Steve Dribbon, incorporates straps that are built inside the walls of the shoe and lateral side bumpers that offer extra balance and stability. The strap system acts as an internal ankle brace that brings the foot and the shoe together as a single unit, minimizing the movement that goes on inside the shoe.
“We compete on performance and safety,” said Jon Katz, the vice president of sales and marketing at Ektio. “We put our energy into creating the best possible performance shoe and from the feedback we’ve gotten from our customers, we’re succeeding in every way.”
Ektio takes pride in their ability to prolong a career for a basketball player, but the guy they mostly boast about is their first prospected NBA player—Lester Prosper, a 6-10, 240-pound forward out of Lynbrook, NY. But given the freakishly athletic built of Prosper, 24, his journey isn’t your average story about a kid from the projects who is on the verge of making it, but it is a story that will have you hoping that one day, he gets the shot he rightfully deserves.
Prosper moved to the States from the small island of Montserrat in the Caribbean when he was 12 years old. In high school, he bounced around from school to school, stayed out late, got in fights—basically doing everything a teenage kid is not supposed to do. “I was hanging with a bad crowd man,” admitted Prosper. “The path I was on was heading no where.”
After moving from home to home, Prosper, at the time an 18-year-old high school senior, ended up in the town of Bellmore, NY, where he found a place of residence at the Bellmore group home. It was at the home where he started to turn his life around and begin playing ball. “The kids in the home helped me get off the streets and lead me in the right path,” said Prosper. “We would play ball every day and every day I would get more athletic and more hungry to succeed.”
But even as his game got better, he didn’t have that motivation to succeed like most professionals develop. “I was just getting started and still wasn’t good,” said Prosper. “Luckily, one of my friend’s mothers on the basketball team at Mempham [High School] was very supportive and helped me get on the right track.”
After a casual weekend trip to the luxurious Hamptons, Prosper saw what the good life had to offer. “That weekend changed me. It motivated me to strive for greatness. Every since that trip, I’ve been grinding everyday to make it.”
After playing ball for only one year at Mepham, he went onto play Division III ball close to home at SUNY Old Westbury. After graduating from Old Westbury in 2011, Prosper began his journey to the league. Having been undrafted, he played ball for a couple of years in Europe to improve his game before coming back to give the NBA another shot.
Ever since Prosper came back to America, he has been impressing scouts and fans in attendance, including the people at Ektio, who signed him this past August to a sneaker deal. “Ektio is about hard work, safety and reliability; attributes that all describe Lester Prosper,” said Katz. “He has made tremendous progress, especially for a guy that has only been playing organized ball for six years.”
Prosper had his doubts about the shoe in the beginning, but after a championship summer league game where he sprained his ankle wearing some Nikes, he decided to give Ektio a shot. “When I turned my ankle, I said to myself, That’s it man. You can’t play like this. How can you help the team when you can barely walk?” said Prosper. “But I’m not a quitter. I grabbed the Ektios from my bag, ran around a little and got back on the court. To be honest, I completely forgot I sprained my ankle—that’s how great this shoe is.
“I believe in the shoe and they believed in me when no one else was willing to,” said Prosper. “This shoe will change the game. It is prolonging my career and it will prolong other dude’s too.”
Since signing with Ektio, Prosper has been playing in organized leagues all over the country and has made a name for himself due to his physical presence and astonishing defense, but most of all, through his hard work and dedication. “I’m coming man—I’m an inspired dude. I have great people behind me and I’m going to keep grinding until I make it. Just wait.”