Around sports, there's a trend of athletes wearing special bracelets and necklaces that purport to unlock previously locked energy potential via holograms, ions, and other cool-sounding methods. Unfortunately, the science behind these products is quite dubious, if not absent altogether. One of the biggest energy bracelets, Power Balance, even paid a $57 million out-of-court class-action settlement after consumers alleged rampant false advertising regarding the bracelets' capabilities. That payment forced them into bankruptcy, but they're still making products. Reach for those profits in any way you can, guys!
Despite these issues, the NBA has gladly taken on Power Balance as a business partner. Although the company no longer lends its name to the home arena of the Sacramento Kings, it does make versions of its bracelets emblazoned with the logos of all 30 NBA teams. Naturally, that means the league also wants players to wear the bracelets as a form of advertisement.
Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn't having it. In a video posted to his YouTube account (via PBT), Cuban spoke out about the junk science behind the bracelets, threw them into the trash, and asked the NBA what it could possibly have been thinking. Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com has more:
The rubber bracelets have a distinctive hologram that is "based on Eastern philosophies of health and wellness," according to the company's website. Power Balance bracelets featuring NBA team logos in the hologram are available for $32.99 on the league's official website. However, Cuban said via email Monday that he will not allow the product in the Mavs' locker room. [...]
Cuban hastily dismissed a similar product when watches with holograms were pitched on "Shark Tank," the ABC entrepreneurial reality show on which he stars.
"No, I'm allergic to scams," Cuban said on the February episode of "Shark Tank." "Seriously, this is not new. It's been disproven. What you saw is the placebo effect. There's athletes that wear it. It's a joke. It's a scam. It's not real."
McMahon goes on to note that he hasn't yet heard back from the NBA for comment, but it wouldn't shock anyone to see Cuban hit with a fine for knocking one of their business partners. Of course, that probably won't stop Cuban from making similar comments in the future. At this point in his career, earning fines is as much a part of his brand as making appearances on various television shows or poking fun at the Lakers.
Another part of Cuban's brand, though, is not treating every business decision as an opportunity for instant gratification. Instead, Cuban typically takes the long view of these relationships, weighing how a partnership may affect his organization's image over time. His aversion to Power Balance doesn't seem to have anything to do with the terms of the deal — it's about hurting the NBA's credibility by aligning itself with a product that doesn't do anything it claims.
Cuban has done a lot of goofy stuff in the name of furthering his own celebrity profile — including serving as a groomsman for Chuck Norris' wedding on "Walker Texas Ranger" — but these comments show him at his best. He's an incredibly smart guy capable of assessing all the pros and cons of a situation and weighing them accordingly. In this case, he's entirely correct.
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