Our Voice of the Athlete Series provides a forum for athletes to talk about the impact of technology on their careers and lives outside of the games. This week, Brooklyn Nets shooter Joe Harris talks about his recent investment in HomeCourt and the technologies that helped him become one of the NBA’s top marksmen.
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Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris has been in the NBA since 2014 and carved out a career sinking 3-pointers. His 42.7 shooting percentage from beyond the arc is the 11th best in league history and ranks fourth among active players, behind Seth Curry, Steph Curry and Kyle Korver. Last February, Harris won the 3-point shooting contest at All-Star weekend.
Last winter, Harris began integrating the HomeCourt iOS basketball shooting app into his coaching. And last week at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, he was announced as an investor in HomeCourt’s $8.5 million Series A funding round along with half a dozen current and former professional players, including eight-time All-Star Steve Nash. As part of the NBA’s official partnership with HomeCourt, Harris and Nash and other players will appear in workout videos on the app.
A slam dunk…
“I invested in it because I was above all a user. I run a youth camp every year and have seen the impact it has had on the kids. It just blew my mind to think of the spectrum it covers – you have seven, eight year olds using it, but then I use it almost every day when doing shooting practice.
“In one case, you develop the game, you learn, you enjoy it, but this technology is sophisticated enough that college teams and NBA players use it to practice. And that’s not a prank, everyone really uses HomeCourt because the AI and technology is as good as anything I’ve seen in my time playing.
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On mobile training…
“It’s amazing to me that [HomeCourt] take everything on the phone. I’ll take my phone and place it against the baseline when I shoot in Brooklyn. And when the kids were using it at camp, they all had their iPads lined up. As long as you have a phone, it’s accessible and reasonably priced. Much of the technology that exists today that measures analytics and data is so expensive and difficult to install. And that you can take anywhere. Children use it in their garden. The opportunities with this are kind of endless.
“I think it’s going to really engage young players and make them want to practice because it’s fun to use. I consider myself a kid: I’d be in the gym shooting and keeping track of my hits and misses when I was shooting. If I could have had something like that, where I had hard evidence to back up what I might feel when shooting… I could just see it. I could still go for it and say to myself, ‘Okay, am I consistent? Am I shooting flat? Am I shooting with too much arc? Am I moving fast enough? different things that will help you become a better player, but now it’s like having your own coach to help you.
“It’s going to really engage young players and make them want to practice because it’s fun to use. I consider myself a kid: I’d be in the gym shooting and keeping track of my successes and my failures.
The videos I made…
“Basically these are some of the exercises that I did at my camp with my kids and do myself. HomeCourt filmed me doing them, running through them, talking about proper mechanics, footwork, numbers you should aim for, how fast you should run through them. Just a whole bunch of different stuff. And now the kids can continue there, they can watch me do it and explain it, and they can do it themselves and even compare their stats to mine, which is pretty cool.
“It’s the first [investment] that I got involved with. My buddy Matthew Dellavedova, [the point guard for the Cavaliers and an investor in HomeCourt], he’s pretty savvy in the VC space, especially with technical stuff. When I first talked to her about it, it was one of the first opportunities where there was a real synergy and connection with her. There are things where you go to intuition, you say to yourself: “Oh, that’s really cool” or “That could be revolutionary”. But it’s another thing to be like, ‘Okay, this is something I love and actually would have used.’
“I could see the impact it could have on the game. Even the only data he’s going to be able to collect is amazing. It’s definitely one of those things where you don’t need someone super experienced in this space to see how big this could be. And I’m just thrilled to be a part of it all.
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“I had several different opportunities, but if I don’t know about it, I don’t just want to invest. I’m one of those people who do their due diligence on everything. I almost get analysis paralysis and I overanalyze. With HomeCourt, I was much more excited to be a part of it because I had used it.
Kinexon and Wearables…
All the data and analytics people use…we track it all [at the Brooklyn Nets]. We use wearables, such as Kinexon [a player-tracking technology that measures metrics such as load and movement]. I’m sure a lot of teams use it; we’ve been using it for a while. Our sports performance team uses it all the time to dictate the flow of workouts. We have a chip that is placed in the back of our shirts and we wear them pretty much all the time except for games.
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