A meeting between the NBA players’ union and wearable tech firm Whoop is reportedly happening on Tuesday, according to ESPN, in a move to educate the union on the benefits of wearable use during matches.
It comes after Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova was warned for using Whoop’s biotracker in multiple games last month. He has since removed the tracker, but received no fine for using it.
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If Whoop is able to convince the players’ union of the benefits its wearable could bring to the game, it might change the NBA’s opinion and open the doors for more wearables. The Associated Press published a report last week that said the NBA may approve two wearable devices for the next season — the Motus arm sleeve and Zephyr Bioharness. The devices received MLB approval for matches last week, but real-time data viewing is not permitted.
While there are obvious questions as to the advantages one team could have against another, Whoop argues that wearable devices will improve the league, and said “the data is not steroids.”
NBA allows wearables now…but not in play
The capability to read your heart-rate, stress levels, and other factors that can improve or degrade performance might make NBA athletes perform better, but there’s not enough data to back this claim up one way or the other. Either way, if the NBA ever approves wearables, we assume it will force all teams to use the same brands, to avoid giving an advantage to one team.
Some teams in the NBA already invest in high-tech wearables that can track a multitude of different health metrics, but these are not currently allowed in games. Even if they were, the NBA might employ the MLB rule, in which neither team can look at the data during the match.
Technology is becoming more prevalent in sports than ever before, but until the rule makers start to allow wearables and other devices in live games, we’re still not seeing the full picture of how dramatic a piece of technology can be to a team, player, or coach.