The National Basketball Association (NBA) has partnered with five different global firms to kickstart its inaugural program, NBA Launchpad. The firms announced are BetterGuards, Breathwrk, Nextiles, Rezzil, and Uplift Labs. These companies will work in association with the NBA under the new initiative to evaluate, innovate and source emerging technologies that can elevate the league’s game and players in future.
In the process of selection, the most popular basketball league partnered with the online platform PitchTape to conduct a holistic review and included several subject matter professionals from the league office and teams. The selected companies were determined from a diverse pool of firms ranging across 25 countries and would be working on research and development projects for six months alongside league advisors. They will obtain vast exposure to the NBA’s business ecosystem and gain access to NBA events.
The recognized priority areas targeted in the primary edition of the NBA Launchpad were Ankle Injury, Elite Youth Player Performance, Referee Training and Development and Youth Health and Wellness. The firms in this program will function in similar specific areas. BetterGuards, based in Berlin will provide an adaptive ankle protection system that facilitates advanced freedom and flexibility of motion while avoiding injuries for the players. Breathwrk will support this initiative with a health and performance application that will give science-backed breathing exercises and assistance to players that will impact their game performance. Nextiles is a New York originated material science company which will improvise the league’s clothing with innovative sewing technology combined with flexible electronics.
Rezzil, situated in Manchester, will support the program’s aim with a virtual reality (VR) technology platform which will deliver cognitive training, rehabilitation and game analysis. Lastly, Uplift Labs from California will bring out an AI-powered technology that delivers 3d analysis and real-time motion tracking to uplift health and performance.
Evan Wasch, Executive Vice President, Basketball Strategy & Analytics commented on this partnership and said, “We are thrilled to introduce our NBA Launchpad program with such a diverse group of innovative products and solutions,” said Evan Wasch, Executive Vice President, Basketball Strategy & Analytics.”
NBA Launchpad was revealed in June 2021 to identify cutting edge solutions for significant areas in the game of basketball and started the global search for appropriate firms at that time.