As smart wearables become increasingly popular, chances are that wearable technology will leave a mark not only on the consumer market but in other areas of activity as well, including sports. In fact, according to recent reports, smart wearables might eventually be used by professional basketball players in the United States, which might lead to a whole new way of thinking in terms of drafting players and managing teams.
Last week the NBA (National Basketball Association) and the NBA Players Association have tentatively agreed on a new deal which will increase players’ minimum salaries by roughly 45% starting with the 2017-2018 season. More to the story at hand, the committee also discussed how new technologies - specifically smart wearables – could be used by professional players and their teams. As it currently stands, professional players are not allowed to wear smart wearable devices able to measure biometrics during games, however, NBA teams have previously used wearables in practice. The main issue – according to reports – is how the biometric data could be used and how it could affect decisions regarding player contracts and substitutions. In a recent interview, former NBA commissioner David Stern expressed his concerns regarding the use of wearable technology by professional players in official games, painting a picture of an assistant coach in a locker room “sending messages directly to another assistant coach […] saying ‘Player X, his hydration is lousy, his heartbeat is too high […] so it’d be a good idea for you to replace him.’” David Stern added that perhaps he is not “that interested” in wearable technology because “it makes it all robotic and takes sort of the spontaneity out of the game.” But regardless of how he feels about wearables, David Stern concluded that “it’s coming” nonetheless.
There’s no mention of when exactly wearable technology might be adopted by the NBA, but it’s safe to assume that, in time, the advantages (and perhaps disadvantages) of using smart wearables will be acknowledged by other sports too. Needless to say, if this is how the future pans out, it will be interesting to see which smart wearable manufacturers will be quicker to form partnerships with professional sports teams.