LeBron James has attached his brand to a constellation of stars in Nike City. The company has decided to name its new Technology Research Center, located at its headquarters in Oregon, as the current Lakers basketball player and four-time NBA champion.
The LeBron James Innovation Center, opened October 4, will drive analysis of athlete development and innovations to support them. The complex is located within the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) at its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Within this technological base, Nike has named several buildings after some sports stars: there is the Joe Paterno Center, in honor of the American football coach of the University of Pennsylvania between 1966 and 2011; there is the Tiger Woods Conference Center; the Vivian Stranger Child Development Center, honoring the active women’s college basketball coach; the Michael Krzyzewski Fitness Center, among others dedicated to Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Mike Schmidt and Ken Griffey Jr.
Now, LeBron’s building will be one of the most modern, having “the largest motion capture facility in the world,” as noted by Nike.
This is because it has more than 400 cameras, 97 force panels distributed on a track, a grass playing field and a basketball court with official NBA measurements, as well as 825 additional test equipment pieces.
The investigations will be carried out by 75 experts, of which a third have a doctorate degree. Both the 825 test kits and four environmental chambers will be used to perform tests of all kinds on athletes and products. The space also connects the largest innovation group of 600 employees that includes shoe and clothing designs with the help of more than 80 prototyping machines.
“Over the course of my career and my time at Nike, this all coming together is surreal. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m definitely honored. Having my name on the innovation building feels very appropriate because I’m always trying to find ways that I can keep innovating and keep breaking the timeline of what they say is your prime, ”James mentioned after the building’s inauguration. .
The basketball player has been linked to Nike for 18 years, because just at that age, at 18, when he signed his first contract for seven years and 90 million dollars even before being recruited by the NBA. Today, he has 19 unique footwear models bearing his name and a lifetime contract worth more than $ 1 billion, making him the first American team sports athlete to achieve that number in 2021, and the fifth athlete overall. after Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
One of the greatest benefits that the LeBron James Innovation Center offers is the direct line of communication between research and innovation teams and product designers. Prototyping is a process that benefits greatly from the operational design enabled by the latest iteration of research spaces.
James is a living legend for basketball. He is the NBA’s leader in scoring and assists and in addition to his four titles, he has the same number of MVP awards from the seasons and the finals. All this, consummated in his almost two decades of relationship with Nike, validated the building with his name and some special details within it.
One of the entrances leads to Glo’s Cafe, the restaurant named after LeBron’s mother and which features a mural commemorating their relationship. Another first-floor entrance leads through a shoebox-shaped lobby that has some extremely rare LeBron sneakers on display. Behind LeBron-branded doors, a screen on the floor reveals a computer-generated matrix of every shot he’s fired at the rim.
But on the fourth floor is where the magic happens, since that’s where the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) is located, where Dr. Matthew Nurse, vice president of the Nike Explore Team Sport Research Lab, and a team of scientists, engineers and Specialized sports experts work hand-in-hand with athletes from a brand that trusted LeBron before his arrival in the NBA.