Basketball and Virtual Reality Meet in Silicon Valley


NBA players who squander their fortunes tend to make spectacular headlines based on the sordid behavior they tend to exhibit at they burn their money away. At the opposite end of the spectrum, many NBA stars wisely invest their handsome salaries as few people take notice.

Trevor Booker of the Brooklyn Nets is an example of a professional basketball player whose business interests are aligned with the technology sector. The power forward is known for his aggressive style of play on the court, and he takes a similar approach to investing. Trevor Booker currently owns more than a dozen companies that are focused on developing tech solutions, and he is constantly seeking similar avenues for investment.

In mid-July, Booker organized a tour of Silicon Valley companies and invited fellow members of the National Basketball Players Association to visit companies such as Intel and IBM. During the tour, Booker showed strong interest in STRIVR, a tech startup dedicated to the development of virtual reality training solutions.

As a professional basketball player, Booker certainly knows about the value of training and the potential of using virtual reality headsets. A common training tactic in the NBA is to review film and simulate plays on the court, which are then practiced over and over. VR could augment NBA training by allowing players to “get into the game” and review certain scenarios in a manner that is more effective than watching film. By switching the point of view to players who are comfortable and not sweating on the court, the training has a chance of becoming more cerebral.

Visualization is a key practice among athletes across all disciplines. Basketball players who need to be deadly accurate at the foul line often visualize “nothing but net” results to help them improve their shooting. This exercise can also applied to shooting from the field and from behind the three-point line. With VR headsets, tactical plays can be visualized for maximum effect before players step on the court to practice them.

Booker is very supportive of fellow NBA players who go on these Silicon Valley trips since they let him become acquainted with the entrepreneurial spirit in the league.

When the players meet the staff of tech companies such as Intel and IBM, invitations are sometimes extended to training camps so that tech workers can learn more about professional sports. Throughout Silicon Valley, invitations to the Golden State Warriors practice sessions and training camps are highly coveted.

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