Basketball player

How this former professional basketball player’s product could make the sport safer

As Tamir Goodman sat in his living room in January 2021 with his family during another of several Israeli Covid-related lockdowns, he received an email from his children’s basketball coaches that would put him on the path to a new venture involving multiple NBA teams and upcoming sales at one of the largest sporting goods chains in the United States.

“We received an email telling us that we don’t know if we will ever return to basketball training, but if we do, each child should bring their own basketball,” said Tamir Goodman. , adding that the new rule was aimed at preventing the spread of germs.

For Goodman, who in 1999 was ranked the 25th best high school player in the United States and had been dubbed “Jewish Jordan” in the pages of Illustrated sports, this basketball news hit him hard. “I was like, I can’t believe we’ve gotten to a point where we can’t pass a basketball anymore,” he says. Goodman had been particularly praised as a player for his vision and ability to move up to the open player. Passing a basketball is something he talks about in terms that intertwine his religious beliefs about treating others equally and doing good for others.

But it was at this moment of disappointment created by Covid that he came up with a product idea: in a sport where the ball regularly passes through a net, he asked, “Why don’t we use the net as cleaning device? The product he envisioned – a netting made of moisture-wicking antimicrobial materials, which he dubbed Aviv Net – is now used during matches for a FIBA ​​European Champions League team, at the camp of basketball started by the late Kobe Bryant, and is in beta testing at training facilities for four NBA teams, the University of Kentucky and the University of Memphis.

Goodman and his business partner and investor David Warschawski, founder of venture capital firm Warschawski Ventures, also made deals for the nets to be used at all games of the minor league organization, The Basketball League, and a verbal pledge from Dick’s Sporting Goods sell the nets with significant placement in 50 stores. The Aviv Net is also a finalist in the NBA’s Launchpad Program, a competition to showcase new products. The company declined to share sales figures, which all come from pre-orders.

In addition to making a living from in-person basketball events, which were put on hold during Covid, Goodman hosts an annual basketball camp in Israel where he brings in former NBA players, like the Hall. of Famer Rick Barry, to work with a group of children mainly come from America. He earns additional income by working for the professional basketball club Hapoel Jerusalem and giving speaking engagements. Goodman has taken an entrepreneurial approach to basketball since he was a child.

“I started doing basketball camps to help pay for my SAT classes,” he says, explaining that he had become the subject of national attention in choosing a college to attend.

While the antimicrobial aspect of the netting is a natural point of emphasis during Covid – and should be a selling point for cold and flu season in the long run – it’s the moisture wicking that could affect the game of basketball, itself. Seeing staff mop up moisture from floors during breaks from basketball games is such a regular feature for fans that it has been replicated in video games. Less prominently, a slippery ball is a frequent obstacle.

“It happens constantly throughout a game, when a player says something to a referee, and the referee will dry the ball,” said Goodman, who played professional ball for seven years. At higher levels of competition, sweat on the ball is such a common problem that in some situations players know “instead of shooting. [the ball], you will pass it just because it is too slippery. The automatic removal of moisture, through the net, would help eliminate this problem and speed up games.

Tackling the humidity with Aviv Net was the goal of Thon Makur, a former NBA player who now plays for Hapoel Jerusalem. During a break in action in a recent game, the seven-footer reached the Aviv Net and dried his hands.

Dealing with a slippery ball is one of the reasons the Sports Academy, formerly the Mamba Sports Academy, partly owned by the late Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, decided to use the Aviv Nets. AJ Moye, a former professional basketball player and now head coach of the basketball program there, said humidity is becoming an increasingly important issue at higher levels of competition. “These big men, they sweat a ton. It makes the ball really wet,” Moye said. In his own high school career, Moye played against Kwame Brown, who would go on to become the number one pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, and “We were just about to win the game in the end, and the ball slipped out of the way. my hand.”

Moye, who first met Goodman as high school prospects in 1999, says he thinks bed nets “will be mandatory” as it becomes more urgent to prevent the spread of germs. “I truly believe that in the climate of our modern society there will always be a global pandemic,” and finding ways to curb the spread of the disease will be a persistent necessity.

For Goodman, there is a message of responsibility and inspiration in pushing his netting idea forward during a dark time. “It was very meaningful to me, as I’ve been taught, if God shows you something that you can fix, then it’s your job to fix it,” he says. He described his efforts as some kind of natural destination for his basketball course of a lifetime. “I love the game so much,” he said, so “creating something that makes players play better is probably in many ways one of the greatest accomplishments of my career – always being involved in the game, even though I can’t play anymore, to affect the next generation of gamers. “