NBA unveils jersey of the future at Tech Summit

The NBA unveiled a new “smart” jersey at the NBA All-Star Game. (Photo via NBA.com)

While the NBA universe converged on Charlotte for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, the league showed off some of the technological advancements it foresees.

The new jerseys move sporting apparel into the virtual realm with the ability to morph into a different player’s jersey. No longer will fans be stuck with a jersey if their favorite player changes teams or falls out of favor

During the NBA Tech Summit on Feb. 15, commissioner Adam Silver debuted a new jersey. Paired with an app, fans can change the number and name on the back of the jersey.

On stage, Silver changed the jersey from Kemba Walker 15 to Stephen Curry 30 and Michael Jordan 23. The crowd watched in awe at the league’s unveiling of what it called the “jersey of the future.”

The technology would allow fans to alter their jersey after they have been purchased, allowing them to change which player they want to support each game. The league also would be able to sell advertising space on the jerseys, creating an opportunity for additional revenue.

There was a mixture of skepticism and excitement among fans on social media. Many worried about the possibility of hackers using the technology maliciously. Others were excited to see what the future of the jersey could be.

Alongside the futuristic jersey, Silver talked about the possibility of facial recognition ticketing, virtual reality glasses to give at-home fans an arena experience and holographic mascots.

The summit also had a variety of panels that addressed the future of the NBA, and how the league plans to address changes that constantly take place. The panels included the challenges and advantages of sports betting, attracting Generation Z and the opportunities that today’s technology presents.

Lauren Chiangpradit is a junior sports journalism major at Arizona State University