The NBA has been around since the 1940s but a lot of aspects of the game remain as they were at the very beginning.
Thankfully, modern technology is starting to be introduced and we can expect some big changes in the next few years.
A Customizable Viewing Experience
Live streaming has become big news in just about every industry, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken in the past about bringing more of a Twitch-like experience to those watching at home.
Perhaps the biggest step here would be to introduce a fully customizable live-streamed experience that would be as close as possible to the feeling of actually sitting at the side of the basketball court, as we would be able to choose between camera angles and different feeds.
Virtual reality could add to the excitement for those watching at home, while those who are at the game might use augmented reality to get the latest updates on their screens without missing any of the action.
Wearable Technology for the Players
The recent COVID-19 pandemic gave the NBA the chance to introduce useful wearable technology for its players. This included a smart ring for them to wear at the Disney World bubble that gave a wellness assessment to the wearer, and a social distancing alarm that let them know when they were getting too close to other people.
It is clear that sort of technology can be used to protect players in extreme cases like this, but it may also be used increasingly in other ways. This could mean collecting more data during the game to better understand player health and the stress they are under.
The use of wearables has been controversial, due to fears that it could infringe upon the individual’s privacy.
However, it seems certain that agreements will be made in time to allow more wearables to be used for the right reasons, like getting more accurate player analysis and statistics. You can find out who has the most triple doubles in NBA history easily once technology evolves.
Smart Ways to Reduce Injuries
Injuries are a way of life in any professional sport, and some of the best players have been plagued by serious injuries that hampered their careers. In the NBA, ankle injuries are among the most common issues and it is hoped that smart technology could be used to provide special braces that adapt to the conditions.
We could also see predictive software and artificial intelligence used to assess the movements of each player and make sure that they have the right gear and training to cope with it. This could also be applied to the recovery process, allowing players to return faster than was possible in the past thanks to constant monitoring and assessment of their progress.
Help to Make Better Officiating Decisions
We have seen a lot of controversy over the use of technology to help officials make decision in sports. In soccer, the video assistant referee (VAR) has led to many wrong decisions and caused numerous complaints from supporters and team coaches alike.
Could basketball be better suited to using this type of technology in the future? A change made in 2019 allows a team’s coach to ask for an instant replay in certain circumstances, while the NBA Replay Center can also trigger this request when it is needed.
There is no doubt that technology has been used to make officiating decisions better over time, but the list of the worst calls in NBA games continues to include recent incidents. Finding a way to use the right technology to help officials is sure to be one of the key targets of the NBA in the next few years.
All basketball fans want to see the latest technology used in the right way, to enhance our pleasure in watching the games rather than taking away from it. If the league’s bosses make the right decisions in the next few years then this should definitely be the case.