About the Nike LeBron James Innovation Center

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THE basketball court inside the LeBron James Innovation Center is redundantly named the LeBron James Court. But inside this building, redundancy seems to be a feature, not a bug.

Take, for example, the extreme number of force plates they have installed across the pitch, the installation inside the facility that houses the LeBron James Court, which also contains a full-size man-made pitch and a 200 meter track. There are 97 of them – mechanical sensing systems that can track impact data from runs, jumps, steps and other movements – built on playing surfaces. And if that’s not enough, multiple cameras on the go. movement follow your every move from the ceiling.

“Athletes can move here at full speed, at full speed – they can just play,” Matthew Nurse, Ph.D., vice president of the Nike Explore Team Sport Research Lab, said in a statement.

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This “game” results in a more naturalistic setting for researchers to observe athletes in motion, compared to “choreographed, traditional and highly controlled hypothesis-based research,” as Nurse put it. The hope is that this will provide richer seams of biomechanical data to tap into, funneled into research that will create, as the Swoosh says, “more precise clothing and footwear.”

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LeBron James visits his eponymous building, the LeBron James Innovation Center

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On Instagram, King James posted photos of a personal tour of his namesake building.

“So surreal !!! As if I was literally speechless !! All I can say is that I am honored and BLESSED !!! WOW, ”he wrote.

In addition to shots on the pitch as he tested the facilities, the Lakers superstar also posted shots of the mosaic that honored his mother Gloria James, as well as other key elements of his life, including his love for Batman. and classic arcade games.

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After all, the LeBron James Innovation Center is not just a research lab. Everything that goes on the top floor. The rest of the building is also a sort of museum, with an exhibit of very rare LeBrons created by designer Jason Petrie, sculptures in an outside courtyard, and a “fabrication space” with a replica of the van where Phil Knight sold his first shoe out of.

But it’s on the top floor of the Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) that the magic happens. There is the land, as we have described. But there are also four climatic chambers, where scientists can manipulate the temperature from a freezing temperature of -20 degrees Celsius to a blistering 50 degrees – all to test different materials for clothes and shoes. To complement their suite of 400 motion cameras (the largest range in the world, along with Nike) and sensing plates, they also feature a full body scanner and a 3D foot scanner to customize their adjustments. athletes.

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The data collected there travels to the manufacturer’s space, where a team – aided by more than 80 prototyping machines – will translate the research into practical reality.

The NSRL is nothing new to Nike. In fact, the first iteration of the shoe brand’s biomechanics lab was first opened in 1980, in Exeter, New Hampshire. But with this new headquarters in a lavish new building on the Nike campus, the Swoosh hopes to fuel more sneaker and apparel innovations to come.

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“Athletes continue to progress, never settling for good enough,” said Nike CEO John Donahoe. “In a company defined by culture and innovation, this building, the LeBron James Innovation Center, is the beating heart of what makes Nike special.”

So while we may never be able to set foot inside, the ongoing research inside this building will eventually trickle down to a Swoosh-branded sneaker near you.

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