Magic Johnson, David Stern Invest in Shot Tracking Technology

  • Investment in wearable tech is part of $5 million seed round
  • Other investors include Elysian Park, Greycroft, IrishAngels

J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers, right, takes a three-point shot against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals in Oakland, California, on June 19, 2016.

Photographer: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and David Stern are joining a round of investment in a technology company that puts wearable sensors on basketball players to generate statistics in real time.

The two, along with Elysian Park Ventures, Sovereign’s Capital, IrishAngels, ward.ventures, Service Provider Capital and Greycroft Partners, for which Stern serves as an adviser, are investing $5 million in ShotTracker, a three-year-old company based outside of Kansas City, Kansas.

Magic Johnson

Photographer: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Here’s how it works: players wear sensors in their shoes, there’s another in a technology-enhanced Spalding ball and more installed above the court. As games unfold, data from the sensors generate statistics -- lineup comparisons and player efficiency ratings, for example -- information that can be shared with coaches or fans.

ShotTracker will add Johnson, a member of the five-time champion “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, and Stern, a former commissioner of the NBA, as advisers to the company. Earlier this year ShotTracker entered into a multiyear partnership with Spalding, the largest basketball equipment supplier, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway through its Fruit of the Loom subsidiary.

Stern said the system isn’t targeting the highest level of basketball -- yet.

“It’s going to be in the 40,000 high schools,” Stern said in an interview. “It’s important for the development of basketball.”

David Stern

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Basketball is seeing a renewed interest in skills, including shooting, after many years of play built around dominant big men, Stern said. He noted the success and popularity of the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who has a multiyear endorsement deal with ShotTracker and hosts a virtual basketball program in conjunction with the company.

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