Culture

NBA tells player to stop wearing wearable

Technically Incorrect: Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers wore a fancy Fitbit-type device during games. This is a no-no.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Looks like he needs 15 hours sleep to me.

NBA/YouTube screenshot by CHris Matyszczyk/CNET

Matthew Dellavedova huffs and puffs.

He runs around a lot for the Cleveland Cavaliers but he doesn't have quite the guile of, say, fellow Australian Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors. (Disclosure: I'm a Warriors fan.)

Dellavedova has, though, technological pretensions.

Indeed, he was seen during recent games wearing something called a Whoop. This is a very fancy Fitbit-type thing that monitors your every pulse and shudder.

The makers of Whoop claim that it optimizes performance. But sports and performance optimization have a difficult relationship.

And so it is that ESPN reports Dellavedova has been told by the NBA not to wear his Whoop wristband while playing.

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Dellavedova, however, told ESPN that he has been told to de-Whoop before games.

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Whoop's makers say it sucks up so much data that you'll know how much sleep you're going to need. This apparently depends on how much strain your body has undergone, rather than how many glasses of riesling you might have imbibed.

The NBA allows the use of wearable tech in practices, but bans the use in games. It's odd, then, that it didn't notice Dellavedova had been Whooping it up for 15 games.

Gadgets are creeping into sports quite quickly. The NFL adores its Surfaces -- when the WiFi works, that is.

Major League Baseball has now welcomed the iPad into its dugouts.

I worry about Whooping, however. I know you'll tell me it's the future and I'm sure it will be.

However, I just watched the Whoop promotional video and heard the thoughts of YoungMe Moon, dean of strategy and innovation at Harvard Business School.

"Think about the possibility of a professional athlete beginning to broadcast Whoop data," she said. "The intimacy that creates with the fan base."

What glorious intimacy indeed.

Fan 1: LeBron's pulse rate is dangerously elevated. There's a problem with his intestines too.

Fan 2: Hmm. Maybe his hemorrhoids are messing with him again.

The future is so very neurotic.