Power Balance hits the NBA
A Q + A with one of the founders of Power Balance, Josh Rodarmel.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
You may have noticed the colorful Power Balance bands that a number of athletes are rocking these days. For those of you wondering, the bands are not a 2.0 version of the successful Lance-Armstrong-Livestrong-steelo. While they do make a statement in their own right, the bands are about functionality.
According to Power Balance, the bands feature a performance technology using holograms embedded with frequencies that react positively with the body’s natural energy field to improve balance, strength and flexibility. A number of NBA players have used Power Balance bands this year, most notably Shaquille O’Neal, Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza and Paul Pierce (who had one on when he captured the three-point shootout—“I think I’m one of the better shooters in NBA history”). Odom prefers the yellow and black color-way and doubles them up, wearing one on each wrist. “I definitely feel a difference on the court when I wear the wristbands,” he said, via email. “It gives me more energy and balance when I’m on the court.”
Hundreds of athletes in various sports are using Power Balance and the company is proud, stressing the athletes wouldn’t be wearing the product unless they firmly believed in its benefits. There are numerous testimonials from professional athletes on the Power Balance site and you can check out their balance tests on YouTube. PB’s success and incredible viral growth with very little marketing and promotion has been impressive. Still, skeptics remain. To find out if it PB really works, you need to experience the product personally. I recently caught up with Power Balance chief operating officer Josh Rodarmel in Orange County to discuss the company’s growth. A former quarterback at nearby Mission Viejo High, Josh and his brother Troy (CEO of Power Balance) founded the company in 2007.
SLAM: How did you come up with this concept?
Josh Rodarmel: Basically my brother was working with computer memory components. My brother and I grew up in a very holistic family that would go to the chiropractor twice a month, always doing that type of thing. My dad was into this technology that was similar to Power Balance, but it was like $500-600. We knew there was a benefit there so Troy actually started messing with computer memory components because that was cheaper than the old technology used. He started trying to put these frequencies into the computer components and actually got lucky that one of the computer components was in a Mylar bag. So when he took it out he found that it worked and that was weird because he tried a bunch of other stuff that didn’t work, so obviously the bag helped. So he started researching what Mylar bags were made of and figured out that it was basically a hologram. That’s how we became able to mass produce it at an affordable rate.
SLAM: Talk about the early days of Power Balance.
JR: It started slow. We were involved in a few different businesses and didn’t know we would focus on this. It started to pick up momentum and we said, ‘hey we have to stop doing this other stuff and focus on one thing.’ If you try and catch two rabbits at once, they’ll both get away.
SLAM: Can you discuss how these Power Balance products benefit athletes or the weekend warrior?
JR: We put frequencies in the holograms that react positively with your body’s energy field. The same way that wireless internet or cell phones or radio waves or different things like that—everything has a frequency and everything reacts with other frequencies. The frequencies I just mentioned react negatively with your body, but there are also frequencies that react positively with your body. We figured out how to put those in the hologram so when it comes into contact with your body, it gives you that added balance, strength, flexibility. We can demonstrate that through the different muscle tests. That’s more on the sports side. Our testimonials say it helps athletes with their stamina and they recover faster, things like that. The cool thing about this product and what makes it viral is the personal experience that everybody has. It differs. The experience that I have might be different from the one you have or anyone else has.
SLAM: Can you talk about the different versions of your product?
JR: Right now we have the silicone wristbands that a lot of the NBA players prefer, because it’s smaller. Guys like Matt Stafford wear the neoprene band. A lot of the football players seem to like that one better. We also have other products like pendants and we’re also coming out with terrycloth wristbands, stuff like that.
SLAM: Was there any resistance from the League when these bands started showing up on NBA courts?
JR: No. In the NFL, guys will wear them under sweatbands because they have rules against that, but the NBA doesn’t enforce that the same way.
SLAM: Who was the first NBA player to wear the product?
JR: The first players to wear it were guys on the Phoenix Suns. One of the guys we work with is friends with Steve Kerr, the President of the Suns. Last year, he helped us get a meeting with Dr. Michael Clark who is the team doctor for the Suns. He is very well respected [also serves as the CEO of National Academy of Sports Medicine] and got the product to all the players. Some of the notable guys were Shaq, Steve Nash, Barbosa.
SLAM: How does this product specifically aid a basketball player?
JR: Again, that’s a personal experience that needs to come from them. But what I hear the most from different people who play basketball is that they don’t get as tired as easily when they wear it. They can run up and down the court and not tire as quickly. Lots of endurance and stamina. There are obviously different balance and flexibility benefits that the elite athletes tend to notice more, rather than people like me that aren’t very athletic and play for fun.
SLAM: What do you say to people who are skeptical?
JR: Everybody is skeptical when they first hear about it. They say it doesn’t make sense and it has to be psychological. It’s not. Paul Pierce had me do the test on him three or four times. Same thing with guys like Trevor.
SLAM: Being from Orange County, I imagine you’re a huge Lakers fan.
JR: I am a big Lakers fan. Big Magic Johnson fan. When I was four, I saw him in Hawaii when they were doing their training camp out there. I saw him across a parking lot as he came out of a restaurant. I sprinted. There is a picture of me hanging on his leg and he’s like, trying to get me off. No joke. He said something like, ‘Hey, I’m on vacation. Come on, man.’ [Laughs] It was probably the most excited I’ve ever been in my life.
SLAM: What are your goals for the brand in 2010?
JR: To get this product to everybody and not just athletes. Long term, we think the technology has benefits for everybody and we want to provide that opportunity.
For more information on Power Balance, visit powerbalance.net.