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APL Shoes and the Top 10 Unfair Advantages in Sports

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2010

APL Shoes and the Top 10 Unfair Advantages in Sports

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    Athletic Propulsion Labs has created something millions of decently-athletic basketball players around the globe have been longing for.

    Tuesday, the NBA spoiled the fun when it banned players from wearing the innovative footwear.

    APL's Concept 1 line of basketball shoes debuted in July and gather energy to help players leap higher.

    There have been rumblings that some NBA players would consider trying the shoes during games, raising questions about the "competitive advantage" they would get by wearing the fancy footwear.

    With that in mind, here's a look at the 10 most unfair advantages in sports.

Honorable Mention: Shooter Sleeves

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    Allen Iverson led the way for what quickly became a fashion trend in the NBA and trickled down throughout all sports.

    The idea behind shooter sleeves is that tendinitis and other muscle soreness could be reduced, which is something every athlete would long for.

    Not every athlete wants to cover their body with sleeves...

No. 10: Tights

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    Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant made tights a popular trend in the NBA several years ago, claiming they needed them to stay loose during games.

    Once more players began sporting tights, the NBA became irritated and banned players from wearing them.

    Much like shooter sleeves, it was never really clear how big of an advantage tights actually provided for players.

    In the end, the NBA was right to draw the line.

    What's next, stopping the game so players can get a massage from a cheerleader to stay loose?

No. 9: Visors

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    Few things looked cooler than the reflective visor Willis McGahee wore during his college days at Miami.

    One of the unintended consequences of the fashion statement McGahee's rainbow visor or LaDainian Tomlinson's signature black shield was that the defense had no idea where the players were looking.

    Then again, maybe it was intended.

    Thankfully, Peyton Manning has never borrowed teammate Austin Collie's black visor.  Defenses would have no idea where the ball was going...

No. 8: Metal Bats in College Baseball

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    It's no secret that metal bats have the power to make an average college baseball player into a slugging sensation.

    From a cost standpoint, it probably isn't practical for all college teams to shell out thousands for maple bats that will shatter easily.

    But it just doesn't seem fair to the pitchers who watch hitters stroll confidently to the plate carrying a lethal weapon.

No. 7: Pitchers Wearing Jackets While Running the Bases

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    There's nothing quite like October baseball.

    There's also nothing quite like scheduling games around network television programming, dragging the World Series into November.

    Sure, pitchers need to protect their arms and stay lose by wearing jackets in the frigid temperatures.

    But what about the hitters in the on-deck circle?

    Or what about the poor outfielders, who stay still and shiver while the pitcher adjusts his junk, fixes his hat, shakes off signs then throws over to first base?

    In the interest of comfort and fairness, it makes sense that any and all baseball players should be allowed to wear a jacket.

No. 6: Doctoring the Baseball

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    Baseball is filled with the chance to get away with all sorts of shenanigans.

    One of the most notorious ways of cheating has faded from the game in recent years, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't happen in some cases.

    Gaylord Perry remains the biggest perpetrator of the spitball, which was officially outlawed in 1920 but remained prevalant in baseball.

    In fact, it became a running joke with Perry and defined his legacy in the big leagues.

    Whether the ball is doctored with an oily substance or placed in the infamous Coors Field humidor, tampering with it seems to violate the spirit of the game.

No. 5: Full Body Suits in Swimming

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    After being riddled with doping scandals in the past, the world of swimming has been overwhelmed by technological advances in recent years.

    And with the advances in swimsuits, world records have started falling left and right.

    FINA finally cracked down on the full bodysuits, banning them from competition in 2009 after a ridiculous string of records were set.

    Why not go back to the old-fashioned swim trunks?

No. 4: Big Bertha Driver

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    The PGA has cracked down on the powerful drivers with thin shafts that hit the ball to the moon.

    The shift to the thin, powerful drivers has given just about everyone on tour incredible length.

    You have to wonder how the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones would have fared if they were able to step to the tee box holding a sleek titanium driver.

No. 3: The Elbow Pad in Baseball

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    There's nothing like a baseball player thrusting a heavily-padded elbow over the plate and being gently plunked by a breaking ball.

    The elbow guard that Barry Bonds made famous has been sported by dozens of baseball players looking to protect themselves from an injury.

    It has also been used as a way of reaching base without getting hurt.

    What's the harm in getting a big bruise and taking it like a man?

    It's time to unbuckle those annoying elbow pads for the last time.

No. 2: Athletic Propulsion Shoes

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    Finally, something that will help average ball players soar over the competition.

    As long as they have $300 and don't play in the NBA, that is.

    The NBA said in a statement Tuesday that Athletic Propulsion Labs' Concept 1 shoe was outlawed because it gave players an "unfair competitive advantage."

    Sadly, NBA fans will never be treated to the sight of seeing Stephen Curry throw down on Dwight Howard while sporting crazy kicks.

No. 1: PEDs

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Was there any doubt?

    Steroids have come to define more two decades of baseball history, glorifying the accomplishments of numerous players who were willing to chase success by any means necessary.

    What followed was a tarnished image for a commissioner who didn't start paying attention until it was too late, and a hollow home run record by a grumpy, bitter superstar.

    It wasn't just baseball that has been destroyed by 'roids.

    From Ben Johnson to the Chinese swimming dynasty, history has been changed

    —forever.

    Do we really want to know the truth behind Lance Armstrong, or would we prefer to live in ignorance and simply move on with our lives?

    Steroids present everyone with that pressing ethical question, one that won't be answered any time soon.

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