Clearly, Durant has been dropping dimes of the literal kind. So we sat down with him to discuss his presence in Silicon Valley, his growing empire and whether his ultimate investment might come in the form of an owner’s suite. ESPN: How much smarter of a businessman are you than you were, say, two years ago? Kevin Durant: I have mentors like Ron Conway [early-stage Google and PayPal investor] and Ben Horowitz [co-founder of Silicon Valley venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz] and good friendships with guys like Chris Lyons [chief of staff for Andreessen Horowitz]. I mean, you just go to dinner with these guys, hang out with them. You start to meet these types of people at games. It’s a little easier being here than saying, “Let’s meet up when I come in from Oklahoma.”
By far, the big hit of the predraft combine was the interview setup for the Pistons, who turned to virtual reality to challenge the potential draftees with 12 game-type decision questions. Players were required to don VR goggles, which transported them to the team’s practice facility and presented them with plays unfolding around them. Using a remote control, the players would answer the questions.
The National Basketball Association and Intel are teaming up on a joint effort to fund promising companies that blend technology with sports and entertainment. The new Emerging Technology Initiative will be a collaborative effort between a team at the NBA working closely with the Intel Capital group to identify challenges that may benefit from a technology solution or technology companies with services that can enhance how fans experience NBA games.
The NBA is most interested in finding thosse companies that have new technology solutions with the capcity of enhancing the NBA game on the court, the fan experience and more broadly, the sports industry across the globe.
NBA Digital (a joint effort between the league and Turner) has also broken out additional offerings that cost less money, like team-specific subscriptions and the option to pay for individual games. Now the NBA is testing another, obvious-when-you-think-about-it idea: letting fans watch the 4th quarter of a live, in-progress game for just 99 cents.