The NBA Awards are on June 24, but the LA Clippers have been given another honor for the work the franchise has done off the basketball court.
Clippers CourtVision, which debuted this season as a way to augment the game-watching experience, won a Sports Business Award for Best in Sports Technology. CourtVision allows fans to watch the game in different modes that include additional features such as play diagrams, real-time shooting percentages, and animation.
The project has been an endeavor of Steve Ballmer since he bought the team in 2014. As Gillian Zucker, the Clippers President of Business Operations, noted in her acceptance speech, “CourtVision was among the first grand ideas. This honor will inspire us to come up with more.”
Gillian Zucker of the @LAClippers and @SecondSpectrum, accepting the award for Best in Sports Technology: "From the moment Steve (Ballmer) bought the franchise, he emboldened us to think bigger." #SBJAwards pic.twitter.com/pDE4Hgr780— Sports Business Journal (@sbjsbd) May 23, 2019
It’s hard to think of anything regarding the Clippers these days without connecting it to free agency, and though there’s no real reason to think that CourtVision is the deciding factor for Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard to come to LA, the fact that it exists is emblematic of something bigger.
Around the league, ownership groups have demonstrated their incompetence by meddling too much in the basketball product, being callous towards employees, or not investing the requisite money to build a contender. Ballmer is the antithesis to all of that. He lives and breathes the Clippers, will spend whatever is necessary to make that happen, and generally has good ideas to execute that vision.
When it comes to picking a new team, free agents do care that ownership is an advantage, and not a hindrance. This latest award confirms that LA has the right people in charge who know how to build successful products — Ballmer certainly hopes that will include a more successful basketball team next season.