In new CBA, NBA, players create a path forward for wearable technology

The league and its players will form an advisory committee to find the best practices for wearable technologies moving forward.
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The NBA and NBA Players Association announced Wednesday they had reached a tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, pending ratification, and reportedly, the new deal will make progress in addressing wearable technology.

The two sides agreed to form an advisory committee on how the league will use wearable technology and the data it generates, according to Bloomberg.

Currently, wearable devices that can measure biometrics cannot be worn by players during games. Teams have measured that data in practice, providing information on workloads that could reduce injuries and lead to improved performance.

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But it’s how the data could be used in the future that is at issue, as teams can use biometrics to make contract decisions and maybe even substitute players in and out of games.

“Opinions are being formed about a player’s potential based on how some people are reading, reviewing and assessing the data,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told last year, adding that she supported teams and players coming up with a better advantage based on the information.

Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who spoke at the Sports Business Radio Road Show last week about how wearables boggled his mind offered his vision of the future.

“I just picture that day when the assistant coach is in a locker room someplace or a war room sending messages directly to another assistant coach on the bench saying, ‘Uh, Player X, his hydration is lousy, his heartbeat is too high, his lactic acid is congealing, his blood pressure is high, and the facial recognition tells me that he’d love to be anyplace but the court right now, so it’d be a good idea for you to replace him,’” Stern said. “And maybe I’m not that interested because I’m trying not to think about it because it makes it all robotic and takes sort of the spontaneity out of the game, but it’s coming.”