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NBA to use virtual reality to enhance training of officials

The NBA will leverage virtual reality and other technology to help with the training of its officials.

The NBA will leverage technology to develop methods to train officials, including the use of virtual reality, the league announced Thursday.

VR was part of the NBA’s plan to strengthen its officiating program in which technology will be used to enhance the performance, training, development and recruitment of referees.

The NBA will also use a data-driven game review system to create objective measurement standards for referees and track progress regarding call accuracy and errors per game over multiple seasons.

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​The announcement came following a six-month review of the officiating program by new president of league operations Byron Spruell, who oversees basketball and referee operations. Spruell began his job in August after having spent the past 20 years at Deloitte LLP.

“They are doing a great job at it, but they can improve and that’s their mindset,” Spruell said of NBA officials in an interview with USA Today. “It’s the way we go about relating to them as well as what programs are we putting in place to continue to make them better.”

The NFL has also said it will test new technology for training officials, including virtual reality simulators.