All-NBA Tech First Team - Preseason Selections

Every year, at the conclusion of the NBA season, the league recognizes its top performers through the All-NBA list. The list is decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters that vote for players to be selected to the First, Second, and Third teams—with two guards, two forwards, and once center making up each team.

On-court performance will get you voted into the All-NBA list but for the All-NBA Tech list, it’s all about what you do off the court.

We have seen an increasing number of NBA players getting involved in the tech world. Its influence is in the NBA is growing—potentially playing a role in off-season decisions.

The All-NBA Tech list recognizes the top players making moves in the tech world—investing in startups, founding companies, etc.

The All-NBA Tech Team Preseason Selection is meant to highlight players that you should be watching out for this upcoming season based on their previous success in the tech world.

The All-NBA Second Team presented some players that aren’t the most lauded. However, the All-NBA Tech First Team is made up of some of the game’s most recognizable names.

 

Here are the preseason selections for the All-NBA Tech First Team: 

Center – Andrew Bogut

Andrew Bogut has been an integral part of the Warriors team over the past two championship run seasons. While the Splash brothers get all the attention, Bogut has been the anchor of the defense and done all the ‘small’ things that often go unnoticed—set screens, protect the rim, and send outlet passes to guards breaking away in transition. Similarly, in the tech world, Bogut is under the radar. You don’t hear much about his tech endeavors—like you do with Curry and Melo—but that doesn’t mean that he’s not making an impact.

Bogut is the co-owner of, Australian based company, Teamgage—an online tool designed to monitor and improve employee engagement in real-time. During his time with the Warriors, Bogut was even able to leverage his influence and close proximity to Silicon Valley to set up a meet-and-greet between Teamgage and Metrix Capital Group Partners, which led to equity funding.

Other than his involvement in Teamgage, Bogut is the Director of One Management Group & Consulting and co-founder of Essential Performance Garments.  

Bogut is now in Dallas as a result of the Kevin Durant acquisition. I think we’ll see the same Bogut on the court, providing toughness and versatility for the Mavs. However, will the move away from the Bay and into Dallas have a negative effect on his tech endeavors off the court? It doesn’t hurt to have, billionaire owner, Mark Cuban around…

Forward – LeBron James

The 2015-2016 season was a good one for LeBron James as it ended with the King back on top after overcoming a 3-1 deficit to the Golden State Warriors to win the Larry O’Brien trophy, bringing Cleveland its first championship in 52 years. He’s long had the nickname ‘King James’ but we might as well start calling him King Midas for the way that everything he touches turns to gold. It seems that everything he is involved in is a success, from his TV appearances (Trainwreck & Cleveland Hustles) to his endoresements--and tech is no different.

LeBron has had a streak of highly successful ventures (Beats, Uninterrupted, WePlay) and has been an early adopter for others.

Expect him to continue making moves throughout the upcoming season with business partner Maverick Carter & his sports and brand management company LRMR and land on the official All-NBA Tech Team at the end of the season.

Forward – Carmelo Anthony

The NBA MVP award has eluded Melo up to this point in his career but when it comes to the tech world, it is hard to think of a player more valuable. Melo is the co-founder (with Stuart Goldfarb) of Melo7 Tech Partners—a venture capital fund that focuses on early stage digital media & consumer internet ventures. Melo is known for his ability to score in a variety of ways—in the triple threat, on the post, and can catch-and-shoot from anywhere on the court. His scoring ability extends from inside the paint to outside of the arena, with Melo7 Tech partners.

Some of M7’s most notable investments to date are Walker & Company, DraftKings, Lyft, SeatGeek, and Andela. The most recent investment was a $2.5 million seed investment in, social media discovery platform, Wine ‘n Dine. Look for Melo to continue to score big throughout the 2016-2017 season.

 IMAGE:  TechCrunch

IMAGE: TechCrunch

Guard – Andre Iguodala

The 2015 NBA Finals MVP has become the leading force behind NBA players movement into the tech world, so much so that the NBA Players Association had Iguodala spearhead its first-ever technology summit in San Francisco.

It didn’t come as a surprise as Iguodala is well known in the tech community—so much so that fans are more interested in chopping it up about his latest tech endeavors rather than basketball. As far as his tech endeavors, Iguodala is an investor in Walker & Company, SuperPhone, and Thrive Global. Previously, he was a Menswear Style Director for the online consignment shop Twice (acquired by eBay).

His tech reputation has led to the Warriors creating an Andre Iguodala bobblehead with a VR headset. Nothing more needs to be said…

Guard – Steph Curry

With two straight finals appearances, and back-to-back MVP awards, Steph Curry has become the (baby) face of the league. Off-the-court, in the tech community, he has established his reputation as well. He is involved in a growing number of tech startups that align with his brand:

·         CoachUp: a platform that connects athletes to private coaches

·         Slyce: a social media and tracking platform for influencers that Curry co-founded with former college teammate Bryant Barr.

·         StephMoji: Steph Curry emoji app.

·         PressPlay: A digital media company that partners with stars to create content for fans.

His growing influence in the tech community has led to him being invited to speak at tech events such as TechCrunch Disrupt. With the number of successful ventures he’s launched, or invested in, he isn’t short on things to talk about.

 

A common theme for the All-NBA list is that the dominant teams are often well represented with multiple players being recognized. That is no different with this list as the, Western Conference Champion, Warriors have three current players (Curry, Igoudala, Durant) and two former players (Barnes, Bogut) earning All-NBA tech honors.

The Warriors close proximity to the startup activity of Silicon Valley makes it an ideal location to get involved in tech, as we have seen more and more players do.

In the past, basketball and hip-hop have always been linked but as of recently we are starting to see things trending toward tech.

For years NBA players have hung around rappers, been featured in their music videos, and have even gotten in the studio themselves (AI, Kobe, Shaq, etc.).

Whereas a familiar sight at NBA games would be to see Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, and Drake sitting courtside, we are starting to see a rise in venture capitalists and technologists such Ben Horowitz, Eddy Cue, and Jim Goetz occupying those seats—and I guess we can throw Kobe in there too now.

Whether this trend has been fueled by the success of the Warriors in the Bay Area or technology’s increasing importance in society, one thing is certain: Tech is the new wave.