balance bracelets Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq, Odom sued over Power Balance bracelet endorsement


Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom both wear Power Balance bracelets during games. Maybe because they both believe in the product, but it turns out they are also both paid celebrity endorsers of said product.

Now they are being sued over it, part of a class action suit according to (via Lakers Nation).

Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom endorse a bogus “performance technology” bracelet that wrongfully claims to “optimize the body’s natural energy flow,” according to a federal class action lawsuit filed against the pair….

But according to lead plaintiff Brian Casserly, the $79.95 bracelet is “nothing short of snake oil”. He is seeking statutory and punitive damages for consumer fraud, false advertising, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

“Despite defendants’ representations that the hologram with enhance consumers’ ‘strength, balance and flexibility,’ it is biologically incapable of doing so,” the lawsuit states.

Let’s be clear: Putting Shaq and Odom in this lawsuit is a publicity stunt. It’s about embarrassing the company to get a settlement. Ultimately it’s not about the NBA players, it’s about getting money out of the California company and its owners (Josh and Tony Rodarmel and Keith Kato, who also all are named in the lawsuit).

To put it kindly, the Power Balance bracelet is a controversial product. The company sells wristbands that  “use holographic technology” to “work with your body’s natural energy field” to improve balance and athletic performance.

Laugh if you want — and you probably should, the company had to admit a lack of scientific data, or just watch this video taking down the Power Balance in-person sales pitch — but a lot of NBA players wear these. The Phoenix Suns Jared Dudley tweeted a while back that the Phoenix Suns training staff is a backer of it, but Manu Ginobili called it a “placebo.” Which shows is that Manu is smart off the court, too.

The Power Balance connection to the NBA is not going anywhere, however — the company just signed a five-year naming rights deal in Sacramento for what had been known for decades as ARCO Arena. Which means more years of debating if a hologram on your wrist helps your balance.

If the guys in the Power Balance marketing department believe in the old “any publicity is good publicity” adage then they have been killing it lately.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.