Bringing Technology To The Hardwood : Blog Of The Nation Vivek Ranadive, the new vice chairman of the Golden State Warriors hasn't played a lick of pro basketball. But the first Indian-American NBA team owner is out to prove that a techie can solve a struggling team's woes.
NPR logo Bringing Technology To The Hardwood

Bringing Technology To The Hardwood

The Golden Golden State Warriors (California's other NBA team, you know, apart from the Lakers, Kings, and Clippers) have recently undergone changes in ownership -- and one of changes is quite historic. Before you say anything about this team that hasn't won a title since 1975, listen up.

Meet Vivek Ranadive -- one of of the three largest stakeholders in the team -- and the first Indian-American NBA owner. He's the founder, chairman, and CEO of TIBCO Software, a software computer company planning to bring real-time technology into the mainstream. Needless to say, his background is pretty unique, to say the least.

But the Warriors season ticket holder is quite passionate about the sport and the team. He reminds me a lot of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. And it's probably worth noting that he coached his daughter's team to a national championship, in part by implementing non-stop full-court press as a defensive tactic.

While Ranadive hasn't traveled down a more traditional team ownership route, like Michael Jordan (current majority owner/head of operations for the Charlotte Bobcats), in an interview with Kym Nicholas of Forbes, it's clear that he plans to be an active stakeholder with a unique mission:

Well, I have some software that they will be using. It’s called Spotfire. It’s visual analytics.  So, it will allow you to look at where different players should be shooting from, what the sweet spot is.  And I think it’ll give us a little competitive advantage.  You can apply a lot of information technology and 21st-century analytics to sports.  And you’re seeing more and more of that done now, in terms of the types of players you get, what kinds of shots they should be taking, where they should shoot from, what combination of players seems to deliver the best results.  So, there’s a lot of room for analysis.

Somehow, this approach reminds of an episode of Full House. Danny, Joey, and Uncle Jesse signed up for a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Yet Uncle Jesse had no skills on the court. After countless, pathetic training sessions with the guys, he gets some shooting tips from the ref of the tourney (played by none other than the famous L.A. Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).


Need a reminder? Fast forward this clip to 6:57 for reference's sake.

Ok, so Ranadive hasn't played pro ball. And Kareem didn't need technology to show Uncle Jesse how to shoot. But there's something about that "sweet spot" that just might work in the Warriors' future. They aren't doing too shabby this season -- so far, they're 7-4.