Brooklyn Nets power forward Trevor Booker talks VR in Silicon Valley



Trevor
Booker, from the Brooklyn Nets, plays a game of basketball inside
of the matrix at STRIVR.

NBPA

You might say that Trevor Booker moonlights as a power forward
for the Brooklyn Nets.

But during the daylight hours and the offseason, when he’s not
playing professional basketball, Booker’s work interests extend
far beyond the hard court. He’s invested in real estate and owns
18 companies that include sports academies, a private high
school, a record label, and a VC firm. 

“To say that I’m an entrepreneur is an understatement,” Booker
told Business Insider. 

It was with this in mind that Booker visited San Francisco
and Silicon Valley this week with 13 other players on a tour
organized by the National Basketball Players Association
(NBPA). As part of the tour the players met with representatives
of tech firms IBM, Intel and STRIVR.

For Booker, STRIVR was the highlight. The company is working on
ways to train people using virtual reality headsets. It’s focused
particularly on training college and professional athletes,
giving them a chance to experience scenarios that might come up
in games without having to break a sweat. 

“I could definitely see myself using it as an athlete,” Booker
said of STRIVR’s virtual reality training device. “They can help
you shoot a game in real time and shoot it from your point of
view.” 

The NBPA organizes regular seminars that focus on different
industries. Its tour of Silicon Valley is an annual offseason
tradition. The effort is all part of the union’s greater
initiative to prepare professional athletes for life beyond the
court.
Last year
, the NBA hosted a similar tour that
took players to Google and Facebook. Trevor BookerBooker,
when he’s not running one of his 18 companies.
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Booker said he joined the trip just to see what he could
learn. He’s participated in other seminars before and met a
lot of valuable people through them.

At Intel, that happened to be the staff, which Brooker said stood
out as particularly diverse.

“That’s something I love to see,” he said. “I don’t think
you see enough minorities or women in the tech field.”

The players also met IBM’s Jeopardy-winning artificial
intelligence system, Watson — “Not he. It.” But perhaps the most
meaningful meet-and-greets happened among the
players themselves.  

“One of the things that we brought up is that we don’t know what
each other has going on,” Booker said about his fellow basketball
players. “We wish that more [players] would take advantage
of their resources to start business ventures and do
something different. 

“We can really help each other’s businesses, so
that’s something we vowed to do.”

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