The NBA has unveiled a new research and development arm, NBA Launchpad, which will aim to source, evaluate, and pilot emerging technologies that ‘advance the NBA’s top basketball priorities’ across all levels of the game.
The league will invite companies and entrepreneurs to apply to the NBA Launchpad, submitting innovations that address one of four priority areas: Elevating Health and Wellness in Youth Basketball, Enhancing Elite Youth Player Performance, Innovating Ankle Injury Prevention and Recovery, and Advancing Referee Training and Development.
The NBA says it is aiming to improve the quality of its global youth development programmes, including NBA G League Ignite, NBA Academies, and Basketball Without Borders, and is searching for new products and services that enhance elite youth player performance. It also says it is looking for innovations that assist players, parents, coaches and administrators in promoting a ‘healthier’ grassroots basketball experience.
Meanwhile, the league will look to attract ‘innovative approaches’ to reduce the impact of ankle injuries. The sport sees a prevalence of ankle sprains at all levels of the game and has also recently published research on the topic, as well as expanding its data collection, and its work with medical experts in the field.
The final area of interest for NBA Launchpad is technologies that ‘enhance the training, development, and recruitment of referees,’ which will strengthen its own programmes which produce referees all over the world.
The NBA says that, following an evaluation process, selected applicants will participate in a six-month R&D pilot within the NBA’s platform of elite and grassroots programs. Companies and entrepreneurs will also receive access to NBA resources, hands-on support, and other incentives to develop their ideas.