The Golden State Warriors Are On the Cutting Edge of Sports Technology
Workplace Wellness Mediaplanet sat down with Kirk Lacob, Vice President of GSW Sports Ventures and Assistant General Manager for the Golden State Warriors, to discuss the team’s technological secret to success.
The Warriors have been known as having a strong connection to new innovations in sports technology. How has the relationship between Silicon Valley and your organization been?
Kirk Lacob: It is certainty a symbiotic relationship. Basketball is a sport than has been built on innovation, whether it’s the creation of a shot clock, the three-pointer, or more recently new styles of play and the use of technology and analytics or the heavy adoption of social media for fans.
We are very lucky to play in the Bay Area where innovation and disruption is at the core of the local culture. Our ownership group obviously gravitates heavily towards backgrounds in venture capital and technology startups and that opens a lot of doors for us to meet and work with incredible people doing amazing things. Even our floor seat celebrities are tech celebs. So I see a natural push and pull between our organization and our team leaning on those people and the local infrastructure and the Bay Area fans looking up to the example that our organization is trying to set. It is a beautiful combination of inspiration going both ways.
How has the utilization of sports technology impacted the success we’ve seen from the Warriors as National Champions?
As they say in Silicon Valley, "If you aren’t evolving, you’re dying.” Because of this, we are always looking for an edge. That edge can manifest in many ways, but one area we have focused on at times is the use of technology to better understand the game and our players, and we will continually look for ways to stay ahead and improve. Most recently, technological advances have enabled us to view the actions that occur during games in a new, quantitative way that allows us to be more objective and hopefully packed with more information to make better decisions.
What is one app that you currently cannot part with?
Twitter! It’s the lifeblood of live news. The NBA is a non-stop 365/24/7 reality now, and, for me, that means staying on top of every piece of information that flows through at all times.
What are some of your favorite technologies that you’ve used to improve players’ skills, and have you seen a difference that said technologies have made?
Advances in video capture and, furthermore, optical tracking have made it much easier to break down what is happening across games and practices. It could be everything from game footage to shooting practice. The reality is that players and coaches still need to go out there and play the games, but we’ve equipped them with more ways to self-improve than ever before. It’s on them to utilize these tools to improve team communication and individual skills.
Getting a good night sleep helps to improve overall health and wellness but also improved fitness outcomes. How does utilizing sleep technology help to ensure a good night’s sleep?
More than anything it’s about understanding our sleep patterns and how they affect us. In this case, knowledge is power. Just knowing what allows you to function at your individual best and if you are getting that sort of sleep or not is the key.
Do you anticipate an increase in sports and fitness technology becoming more seamlessly integrated into professional basketball?
I do. I actually see it slowly integrating into our daily lives as well. I think there will a period of adjustment but as technologies get less invasive it will become more and more natural to use sensors and monitors while we play.