Forget Playing Under the Lights, LEDs Let You Play on Top of Them

You would think that there is little in the world of basketball that could leave Kobe Bryant speechless. The Mamba has seen his fair share of amazing plays, arenas and players, so it would be safe to say that much on the basketball court doesn’t impress him.

That all changed when he caught a glimpse of the new LED basketball court at the “House of Mamba” in Shanghai.

The court — created by Nike — has LEDs and sensors built into the floor that allow for it to change its display, markings and images almost instantly. While it can display a classic basketball court layout, the real value for the court comes from the fact that it can be programmed to show a variety of training drills and exercises. Athletes can follow lights and lines to practice footwork drills, all while the sensors in the floor track their time and progress, and then display the players’ time.

The “House of Mamba” was built as a part of Nike’s Rise campaign, a competition to find China’s best young basketball players, with the top three moving on to the Nike World Basketball Festival in Barcelona. Thirty players were brought in to run through a variety of drills based on Kobe’s own training regimen.

This basketball court not only represents the future of high-end athletic training, but also makes us think about how LEDs can affect athletics in the future. From the instant ability to change the floor lines in multipurpose rooms depending on the sport being played, to sensors and lights that track faults and out-of-bounds in sports like tennis and volleyball, LEDs will provide tremendous value for both amateur and professional athletes alike.

“LEDs are giving us the ability to do creative things that were never done, or even imagined, before with traditional lighting products,” said Jed Dorsheimer, Managing Director at Equity Research. “The use of LEDs in basketball courts is just one more example of how solid-state lighting is breaking from the mold of how lighting can be used. With the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs and the new creative uses for LEDs, the solid-state lighting market has the potential to be much larger than the traditional lighting market.”

Check out the video of Nike’s “House of Mamba” LED basketball court, and let us know in the comments what you think the future of LEDs in sports will be.