The Sport of Innovation
Basketball is inherently innovative. It’s part of the sports origin story and is still a natural part of the game one hundred years after players first started dribbling a cloth soccer ball.
Now basketball isn’t just a technological sport, it’s in the sport of technology which has been a contributor to its meteoric success. Where other sports traditionalist tendencies might see gimmicks, basketball sees boundless opportunity and in using technology has transformed itself into a game international adoration. We take a look back at some of these advancements and where it’s all going from here…
A rich pedigree of innovation
The ball itself embodies innovation. No other sports ball has made more technological advancements and improvements. A far cry from the original cloth soccer ball, the modern grip and orange appearance is not only iconic, but also representative of the cool tech in basketballs. Balls like the “hole in one” which features golf ball like dimples that improve aerodynamics and player grip show amazing promise. Other balls have sweat absorbing shells made from polyurethane and microscopic moisture-wicking holes that have been highly successful. We have seen Spalding, the official NBA provider, create balls with microfiber composite covers, that have now become the official ball in the WNBA. But the most interesting of all, “smart balls”, like the 94fifty, released in 2013, which has sensors on the exterior that transmit data to digital devices, perhaps this technology will become widely used helping advance the game with minute to minute analysis of ball handling, shooting arcs and other techniques, keeping basketball at the forefront.
The Shot Clock
As early as 1954, basketball introduced the shot clock. This addition was a big step in setting a culture for innovation and integrating digital tech into the game. It’s now hard to imagine basketball without it. The introduction of a shot clock ushered in much higher scoring games and a better audience understanding of what is taking place on court. Although now it seems like just a big digital clock, at the time it was significant and it stands as a great example of the functional use of tech to improve gameplay.
“The adoption of the clock was the most important event in the NBA.”
Maurice Podoloff, the NBA’s first president.
Innovation in basketball shoes is really a story of its own. Now a cultural phenomenon, it’s impossible to look past technology as being the driving force behind this rise in prominence. Chuck Taylors took canvas sneakers with rubber soles to the masses and advancements like those made by Nike Air really did make us think “It’s gotta be the shoes”. Assigning shoes to court positions based on different features for bounce and support is now commonplace. Customisation and advanced technological features have become standard and a lot of that break through sneaker tech has been driven by the game of basketball. We see Guards and perimeter players opt for lighter shoes which allow them greater movement and cutting ability whereas larger, stronger players with a post game like sturdier shoes. In a game that can be won by late shot in the last split second, it’s easy to see how small advantages gained through the latest shoe technology can be a big deal.
The Digital Community and .basketball domains. Tech isn’t just on the court, it’s online. The sport now has its own exclusive domain – .basketball – providing a tailored and more distinctive digital community than the generic .com, .net etc. Only real ballers allowed. Clubs, businesses, individuals that are genuinely involved in the basketball world can get one. By using the .basketball domain tech you’ll get advancements in brand recognition, improved search results, less spam and alignment with FIBA.basketball and the wider basketball community. It’s better to be jazz.basketball than jazz.com, especially if your fans are not that into bossa novas.
You can get a .basketball domain here.
Biotechnology is an area of increasing interest, with the likes of software development company Chaotic Moon Studios producing Tech Tats producing some amazing tech. One of which is a device that lives on your skin and gathers data on shooting form, general performance and even biometric health, all through tiny biosensors that wirelessly transfer data to digital devices. For a sport where tattoos are already a big part of player fashion and culture – this could really take off!
Every wished you could watch yourself play? Or had the same video analysis tools as the pros? Well meet Glory League. Already part of our .basketball online community, Glory League are a basketball software provider that are bringing high tech to the masses. Local clubs, leagues and teams can record and analyze games like the pros. Using motion tracking video technology all games are recorded and synced to a play by play digital scoring system which allows for each game to be broken down into a video of player highlights and statistics, with shot and point chart references. This digital tool delivers game analysis and team progression to levels
previously unthought of enabling teams to understand play and improve much faster – and school kids to feel like superstars!
Founded by basketball tech experts Davyeon Ross and Bruce Ianni, Shot tracker is another platform that is a sensor based system designed to capture stats and performance analytics in real time. There’s a lot for a coach to track in a game of basketball. This gives coaches focused on performance a very detailed second set of eyes, evaluating play, showing what adjustments need to be made, all based on real time data. This can massively improve play. There’s no emotion in data, so if a team is getting beat in the post, on the perimeter or in transition, shot tracker looks at the data and helps make those
observations – all while the game is still in progress.
Basketball is full of innovators, always will be. Why not take the simple step of getting a .basketball domain for your website and you can join the innovation movement and enjoy the benefits too.