Bullz-Eye interviews NBA legend Rick Barry on his career, Ektio shoes and what’s wrong with the NBA


We recently had the chance to talk with NBA legend Rick Barry, and it was fantastic! After the interview, I went out and shot 1,000 free throws and made 999 of ’em!

Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987, Barry won an ABA title in 1969, an NBA title in 1975, was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1966, and was named the All-Star Game MVP in 1967. He’s the only player to ever lead the NCAA, ABA and NBA in scoring for an individual season. Check out the ridiculous numbers he put up.

Your performance in the 1966-67 All-Star Game is one of the greatest single game performances ever. You dropped 38 points and led your West squad to a victory over an Eastern Conference team that featured Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell and was coached by Red Auerbach. And you did it when you were just 22 years old. What are your memories of that game?

It was a remarkable game. You look back and see how many players who played in that game were named to the 50 Greatest NBA Players team. In addition to who you mentioned, they had Jerry Lucas and Hal Greer as well. We had Nate Thurmond, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West; it was a remarkable array of talent. I got the MVP, but in all honesty, I’ve always thought the NBA All-Star Game should have a Most Outstanding Player (MOP) and a Most Valuable Player (MVP). In this case, I would’ve won MOP for a great offensive output, but the MVP was Nate Thurmond and how he helped negate that incredible front line of the Eastern All-Stars.

The other thing that is amazing is it may be the only NBA All-Star Game ever where a coach got thrown out! Red Auerbach actually got thrown out of the game! That would never happen now because competition has changed. When I go to the All-Star Game now, fans go to be entertained; it’s entertainment. There’s not super competition. As a purest, and someone who loves the game, I’m always hoping it’s going to be close in the fourth quarter because then they play really serious and pride will come out and they want to win. Otherwise, the stuff that they’re doing now isn’t true competition. For us, the winning team got a $2,000 dollar bonus; two grand to me was almost one-seventh of my salary! That’s a lot of money in those days. Now, it’s irrelevant. So our games were incredibly competitive.

What happened to the true sharpshooters; guys like you and Chris Mullin?

I think Chris was more of a shooter than I was. I was more of a scorer; I found ways to score. I got better as a shooter as my game progressed. There’s still some amazing shooters out there. Like Ray Allen. Guys like that are shooting 40% from beyond the arc and that’s an amazing shot; it truly is. The NBA three-point shot is from a long way out. What you’re not seeing today is guys playing and utilizing the mid-range game like we used to. Now, it’s either inside post-up dunk or three point shot. I think they’re missing the boat in that regard. It’s fun to watch a team do that, which is why I like to watch San Antonio. Gregg Popovich does such a great job coaching his team to play the way I always thought the game should be played. Tough defense, move the ball around, set screens, force the defense to make decisions.

How did all of your sons who played professional basketball become such great shooters? And did you ever think that one of your kids would have a Slam Dunk Champion trophy in their possession?

To be honest, I was hoping one of my boys would be good enough to play division I college basketball, or to even play basketball if they wanted to, to get a scholarship. I have five now, four in the NBA. To have three of them has never been done before and who knows what’s going to happen with my youngest son. At this stage, he’s probably more skilled than the other guys. As far as becoming great shooters, having the confidence to make the shot when you have to is the key. And repetition, repetition, repetition. That’s a matter of putting the time and effort into it. But you also have technique, a pattern that you do. Whatever your routine is, you do it every single time, like with free throws.

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The Ektio Revolution is hitting a basketball court near you!

If you have ever played the game of basketball you are well aware of how many ankle injuries occur on the court. I have experienced these injuries myself and know how painful and long-lasting they can be.  With the development of so many technologies in the sports world it has now become time for design to help reduce ankle injuries on basketball courts all over the world.  Enter Ektio.  Yeah,  That’s what I thought when I heard name Ektio?  Why the name Ektio? The company’s name comes from the Greek words “ektor” and “alexio,” meaning “defend” and “protect.” And, according to Ektio, that’s what their Wraptor and Post Up shoes can do!
Bullz-Eye had the opportunity to test out the newest technology in basketball shoes and, I must say, we were impressed with what we learned. But before we get into the shoe testing here are some things we found out. We learned that sprained ankles cost around $3,000 per injury in healthcare alone which equates to a $4 billion economic loss in the U.S. alone, every single year.  Those are big numbers, and wait until you hear what it costs the NBA! According to retired NBA All-Star guard John Starks, “In 2009, NBA teams lost $15 million in revenues alone from this specific injury. It happens every year. This is the first shoe I’ve ever seen that could change all that. I have had many ankle sprains in my career and they were debilitating, painful and made getting back to the court very difficult. The technology that Ektio has created in order to protect players from rolling their ankles or the severe injuries that result when players jump and land on another player’s foot is remarkable. I wish that Ektio was available when I played. This will help players stay healthy and prolong their careers. I believe so much in what Ektio is doing that I’ve joined the company.”  Well,  After learning all of this from Starks and the following from Ektio’s Dr. Barry Kratz, it gets you pretty excited about the Ektio revolution.  You see, Dr. Katz knows how ankle sprains affect basketball players because his son was suffering from ankle injuries while playing basketball. “Clinical studies we did at Drexel University showed significantly less ankle inversion compared to a standard basketball shoe,” said founder Dr. Barry Katz, “yet the shoe did not inhibit any of the useful motions of the ankle needed to play basketball at the highest level. In preliminary studies, it was shown to be superior to ankle braces.  A second study at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC showed that despite the anchoring of the ankle to the shoe, useful ankle motions in activities necessary for basketball (running, jumping and cutting) were not inhibited compared to a standard basketball shoe with and without tape and compared to barefoot athletes. Our ability to protect against shoe rollover inversions while, at the same time not adversely affecting athletic performance, is the key to the product’s revolutionary benefits.”
Since the NBA lost approximately $15 million in 2009 to ankle related injuries and the fact that the Ektio’s will cost $199 per pair, look for the big boys to be a first-line testing ground for these new shoes. The price is higher than most designer shoes but when you add in the cost of ankle braces, taping your ankles (which doesn’t last very long) and the pain and costs of potential ankles injuries, the Ektios make sense.
Ektio technology is what separates these basketball shoes from anything else on the market . The tech consists of built in straps within the wall of the shoe that anchor the ankle to prevent rollover injuries. In addition, it incorporates “anti rollover bumpers” on the outside of the sole. It doesn’t sound like much but I’ve learned through the years that most of the best ideas are precise and simple things that change industries.
Ok,  You’ve heard all about the technology but you’re probably asking, “How do they look on your feet?” When I opened the box and saw the Ektio Post Ups in black and royal blue I was blown away!  These shoes have a very strong looking stance but also a very hip, urban and clean look that stood out from any basketball shoes I had seen or worn in the past.  The Ektios are sharp and, regardless of how well they work, we all know that basketball shoes need to look good or we aren’t wearing them!
The Post Up three-quarter-top shoe comes in a white and red upper with a white mid sole, red bumpers, white mesh walls with red underlay and an action leather toe with red laces. The second Post Up which we tested came in black and Royal blue with an action leather suede toe, black mid sole with blue striping, blue mesh walls with black underlay and blue laces and bumpers. The Post Up also comes in all black and all white styling. The other design (which I certainly expect more choices to follow) is the high top Wraptor that features action leather with opposing color and quilted stitching, perforated leather details with opposing color underlays and patent leather toe and ankle accents. The Wraptor comes in two color combinations: a black and red upper with black mid sole, black patent leather toe, red bumpers and laces. The grey and Carolina blue Wraptor features a blue patent leather toe, the addition of mesh-detailed walls, a grey midsole and blue bumpers and laces.

Conclusion:  When you first put on the Ektio you need to read the instructions.  I’m not kidding here as there are two straps, one that goes over the tongue and the other strap goes under the tongue. When your feet enter the Ektio Post Up you immediately feel the built in ankle support and get the feeling that your ankle is secure, like when you slip into a ski boot. When you strap the Ektio up you know this is something special, and the strong support and the “anti rollover bumpers” work like a charm. Ektio makes it near impossible to roll your ankles! The Ektio is lightweight, stylish and offers the safety that basketball players could only dream about before their arrival.  On the court hooping it up, the Ektio Post Up was light weight and an overall superb baskbetball shoe. You really gain more confidence in your game and are willing to go the extra mile knowing you have a solid base to protect you from a simple ankle rollover that could keep you off the court for months.

The Ektios officially went on sale this month (November 2010) and you can find them at www.ektio.com and probably at many other sporting good stores once the word gets out. Hopefully the Ektio brand will be in the football, baseball and soccer world’s product lists very soon so we can save more ankles! When shopping for your team’s baskeball shoes or individual shoes, remember that ankle injuries are the #1 orthopedic injury in the world and Ektio has arrived to do something about that with their stylish and revolutionary basketball shoes!