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The NBA Development League will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League starting next season, and also as part of a multiyear expanded partnership announced Tuesday, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute will collaborate with the NBA G-League.
GSSI will work with the NBA G-League to enhance player sports performance and recovery, and its scientists will partner with the league on player nutrition and training programs, incorporating technology and innovations in Gatorade testing, product and equipment.
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The league that was designed to develop NBA players has often been used as a testing ground for everything from rule changes to wearable devices. And now Gatorade will have a wealth of athletes that can try out the company’s latest innovations.
“What we started talking about was a true partnership and how we could leverage Gatorade’s sports science expertise to be able to enhance the performance — the on-court performance — of our athletes in the Development League,” NBA deputy commissioner and COO Mark Tatum told USA Today on Monday. “That’s how we started having these conversations, and then it emerged into entitlement discussions because it was so linked in terms of the efficacy that they could provide to our players, the ability to enhance their performance, and recovery. It made so much sense to us to … align even more closely the two different brands together.”
To learn more about GSSI’s capabilities, Greensboro Swarm guard Damien Wilkens recently traveled to the new satellite laboratory in Bradenton, Fla. to go through a battery of tests. He ran on an oversized treadmill in order to be evaluated for his fuel profile, which tells how an athlete uses carbohydrates and fat for fuel. GSSI’s proprietary algorithm calculates the fuel profile and can offer recommendations.
Wilkens also did exercises using FitLight to assess agility and motor control. Overall, the exercises cause sweat that can then be evaluated to help the athlete understand their fluid and electrolyte needs when they train and compete in different conditions. Gatorade then offers solutions for hydration.
“We have more than 50 years of experience working with athletes and using those insights to help improve athletic performance through innovative sports fuel and equipment,” Brett O’Brien, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Gatorade, said in a statement. “This expansion of our NBA partnership is a great opportunity to not only work with the elite athletes of the NBA G-League, but also continue to lead the evolution of basketball performance.”
GSSI has its main facility in Barrington, Ill. and was founded in 1985.
Gatorade and the G-League will also collaborate on behind-the-scenes video content which will capture players on their respective journeys, highlighting a shared commitment to enhancing performance through innovation.