Every year, at the conclusion of the NBA season, the league recognizes its top performers via 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 one 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.
Here are the preseason selections for the All-NBA Tech Second Team:
Center – Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka is a power forward/center for the Magic—having been traded away from the OKC Thunder this past off-season for Victor Oladipo. Ibaka is from the Congo and plays for the Spain National Team in the Olympics so it is no surprise that he looks for investment opportunities around the globe.
One startup that caught his eye was First V1sion. Ibaka invested in this Barcelona based startup in the summer of 2015 alongside another elite athlete—Andrés Iniesta. First V1sion makes a wearable broadcast system that immerses fans into the game through the athletes' point of view by integrating a camera and a radio transmitter into a compression shirt.
Forward – Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has been the talk of the NBA over the past four months since he decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors—in the most criticized move since The Decision by LeBron James. When KD announced his decision in My Next Chapter, on the Players Tribune, he highlighted the importance of going somewhere that encourages his evolution as a man. If that means off the court success now and after his playing career is over--particularly in the tech world--then Golden State provides the best opportunity to do so.
However, in the short time since his move, he has been even more active in the tech community by getting involved in the following:
· In September, KD invested in Acorns-- an investing app that allows users to keep up with their daily purchases and automatically invest the leftover change into a low-cost, exchange-traded fund.
· Along with Kyrie Irving & Neymar, KD is a featured athlete in Nike’s Fall Tech Pack.
· In October, KD partnered with Nike and Victor Solomon on KD’s Bay Area Gallery on Airbnb—a contest for a free night’s stay in a gallery of art, culture, and sport.
· This past weekend KD took to Reddit to solicit recommendations from Bay Area natives and later posted pics of himself hitting up the spots that were suggested.
In a few short months, KD has been very active. I think we’ll continue to see him investing in and working with tech startups—which may land him on the All-NBA Tech First Team.
Despite what you might think about his decision, it’s hard to criticize what he’s done with his opportunity in Silicon Valley.
Forward – Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes took full advantage of his time in Silicon Valley. The small forward out of the University of North Carolina has completely immersed himself into the tech scene.
Barnes has invested in a growing number of startups. His most notable investment to date has been, health and beauty company, Walker & Company. However, many of his investments are undisclosed.
Having only played four seasons, Barnes is hardly a veteran. However, off the court, he’s somewhat of a seasoned professional in tech. (Maybe it’s a result of his internship at Facebook)
Barnes has a true passion for technology, with plans to potentially enter the world of angel investing when he’s finished playing. (TechCrunch)
The combination of these factors makes Barnes one of the most promising players in the NBA when it comes to technology.
Guard – Jeremy Lin
This Harvard grad is no stranger to tech. He was exposed to the tech boom at an early age, having grown up in Palo Alto—not far from the Quora headquarters. This might explain why he has taken to the question-and-answer platform to engage with his fans.
Other than Quora, Lin leverages YouTube to provide fans with a glimpse into his life, and has even collaborated with other NBA stars on his videos.
Most recently, Lin launched an eSports team. In a partnership with the China Digital Group (CDC) and Vici Gaming Lin will endorse a Dota 2 team called Team VGJ. However, he won’t be backing them with his dollars, but with his brand—acting as the face of the team as a brand ambassador.
In an interview earlier this year Lin said, “I feel like when I’m done playing, one of the things I want to do is to make the world a better place. And there’s no better way than to really look into tech, because if you take a look around, society’s becoming extremely digital and it’s growing astronomically globally.”
We will see if he gets an early start on making this happen by investing in tech throughout the upcoming season.
Guard – Chris Paul
CP3 doesn’t quite get the same recognition as many of the other stars on this list but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a techie.
In the spring of this year, CP3 worked with neuroscience technology company InnoVision Labs to release Game Vision by Chris Paul—a mobile app that aims to take athletes sports vision to the next level. The 9x all-star has built a reputation around the league of possessing tenacity, high basketball IQ, and court vision so the release of this app aligned with his brand.
Always one to assist others, this August, CP3 partnered with CDW, Lenovo and GOLFZON to donate a technology gift to the Watts-Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club. The gift consisted of an assortment of notebook computers, tablets, and a golf simulator which will provide ed-tech to a community that previously lacked access.
The most intriguing investment CP3 has recently made may be his investment in Muzik--a Miami, Florida based company that makes smart headphones. Joining CP3 as investors is Denver Broncos’ Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas and Twitter (making it the first ever hardware investment by the social media network). This isn’t the first time that we have seen an athlete invest in a headphone company. However, it is to be seen if this investment will net him the kind of return that LeBron realized from his stake in Beats By Dre.
Chris Paul is a student of the game so I expect that he treats technology the same way. With Steve Ballmer as the owner of the Clippers, CP3 has a mentor with a successful track record in tech as Bill Gates right hand man and eventual successor as CEO of Microsoft. CP3 should leverage Ballmer as a resource to accelerate his learning curve as a technology investor for the upcoming year, and years to come.
All five players have earned their way onto the All-NBA Tech Team Preseason Selection list but there are still five more players that have out-performed them in the tech world. Check back tomorrow to find out who the preseason selections are for the All-NBA Tech First Team.