We use smartphones to monitor and track everything, so why shouldn’t Mavericks boss Mark Cuban put devices on his basketball players? Cuban has made the bold and innovative move of having players put one ounce devices to give feedback during practice of each player’s performance. Last season, the Mavericks were the only (or perhaps we should say, the first) NBA team to use such tracking devices. Player Devin Harris was not surprised, but he told Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, “They just want to collect data. We’ve got a lot of stuff we do that is a little bit different, but if it helps us get better, I don’t think anyone will object to it.”
It may seem a bit “big brother” to some, but if one’s “big brother” is entrepreneur Mark Cuban of CNBC’s the “Shark Tank, ” a “sibling” who is committed to winning, privacy might be a small sacrifice to make. The Mavericks’ performance director, Jeremy Holsopple, supports the idea. “We are constantly beta-checking several technologies.”
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The devices can prevent injuries and help players recover from injuries they already have. The device, produced by Australian-based Catapult, emits and receives GPS accelerometer signals. It is placed under the jersey, over the spine, and gives feedback about accelerations, changes of direction and jumping. Mark Cuban likes it so much, he bought a minority stake in Catapult. This is a great way to, in his words, “make some money and beat somebody’s ass.”
Not only does Cuban have a stake in Catapult, he is one of its advisers. However, while he wants to help Catapult, he is primarily concerned with the Mavericks, and told the Dallas Morning News, “Winning comes first. I’m here to answer questions from Catapult and give them guidance. But they know I’m not calling any other NBA teams to make introductions.”