Glasses in the NBA: past, present and future


Yes, you read that right. You might be wondering: what do glasses have to do with professional basketball? Well, any true NBA fan can remember the iconic styles of players from the past and some notables of the present. Let’s dive in and see more.

Who’s who on the NBA eyewear scene?

Who can forget the timeless goggles worn by the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Jabbar isn’t alone on his bespectacled journey to greatness: part of the bespectacled crew includes greats such as James Worthy, Horace Grant, Kurt Rambis, Thurl Bailey, Hakeem Olajuwon, Buck Williams, Bo Outlaw , Amar’e Stoudemire and Ben Wallace, to name a few.

After all, basketball is such a precision sport that elite athletes need to do their best for peak performance. Professional players are admittedly allowed to wear more traditional glasses in the NBA, but the glasses tend to be more practical. This is especially true, considering how the sport can get closer to physics by bringing a defender to the rim.

Form and function: not yesterday’s glasses

But why only see your best when you can also perform at your best? These days, glasses aren’t just about functionality and utility – they have become a status icon and are very much in fashion. More recently, glasses have acquired some pretty interesting properties such as anti-fog coatings (great for Zoom calls) as well as replacement lenses (if you love your frames, keep your frames). The global eyewear market is booming, reaching $ 172 billion by 2028.

The future of technology and eyewear

The future of eyewear technology is pretty compelling. Maybe the future of the NBA will be played out in the metaverse? While it’s still too early to tell, at the moment fans can already have some pretty improved experiences, such as being able to purchase NFT sneakers in the Metaverse.

Many fans will also soon experience truly immersive experiences thanks to mixed reality headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens. Facebook / Meta has also made a lot of noise lately with the advent of the Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer. This has also been a popular headset – as such, an advanced headset now has the ability to project photos directly into the wearer’s eyes, which helps widen the field of view. This is a dramatic improvement over previous generations of virtual reality glasses.

Okay, so you see where this leads from a fan perspective, but what about the players? We may be a long way from the gamers themselves wearing such smart glasses right now – but with some time there should be some dramatic progress where augmented reality overlaps with reality itself. Interesting moments to come, that’s for sure.

Put it all together

Here’s a new year ahead: let’s see our best and be our best, on and off the pitch. Learn more about the style, form and function of the future of eyewear and how sport can adapt to these styles in the Deep Visual Dive below.


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