NBA discusses role of AI at annual summit

Guard Mac McClung, who plays for the G League’s Osceola Magic, is trying to join Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson, Nate Robinson and Zach LaVine as the only back-to-back dunk contest champions.
(AP/John Raoux)
Guard Mac McClung, who plays for the G League’s Osceola Magic, is trying to join Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson, Nate Robinson and Zach LaVine as the only back-to-back dunk contest champions. (AP/John Raoux)

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NBA has used artificial intelligence for some time. It helps the league generate highlights in real time, gives referees assistance when determining if goaltending occurred, translates play-by-play into multiple languages and even powers the league's official app.

And more is undoubtedly on the way.

The league unveiled NB-AI, technology that the league says will "personalize the live game viewing experience," at the annual All-Star tech summit Friday. Commissioner Adam Silver kicked off the event by showing some examples of how it will work and brought out San Antonio rookie and No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama to assist.

"Today, AI is creating a similar excitement to what we saw around the early days of the internet," Silver said. "Intuitively, most of us have a sense that artificial intelligence is going to change our lives. The question, at least for me, is 'how?' "

Wembanyama got a sneak preview of the newest technology at a rehearsal on Thursday for the tech summit.

"It's incredible," Wembanyama said. "It's still in the early days. Only the future will say what it will look like."

SLAM DUNK CONTEST

Mac McClung's life changed dramatically last year when he won the dunk contest on All-Star Saturday Night.

And now he's trying to do it again.

McClung, who plays for the G League's Osceola Magic, is trying to join Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson, Nate Robinson and Zach LaVine as the only back-to-back dunk contest champions. He'll go up against Boston's Jaylen Brown, Miami's Jaime Jaquez Jr. and New York's Jacob Toppin tonight.

"I think I'm more nervous this time, I think it adds a little pressure," McClung said. "But I'm just reminding myself to have fun with it. We've worked really hard so hopefully it all comes to fruition."

McClung didn't drop many hints what he had planned for the 35,000 fans expected to attend tonight's feature attraction at Lucas Oil Stadium -- other than suggesting to pay attention to the replays.

How has his life changed?

"It's a little different going to airports now and going (out) to eat, but mostly it's all good things," McClung said.

Brown is the first All-Star in the dunk contest since 2018.

"The last couple of dunk contests, there hasn't been an All-Star or one of the top players in the league to do it," San Antonio forward Jeremy Sochan said. "I think him doing it maybe will spark having All-Stars and the best players in the league come back and start doing the dunk contest."

Jaquez said his decision-making process on entering the contest was simple: The NBA called and asked, and he said yes.

"It was that easy," Jaquez said.

CHET'S DEBUT

Oklahoma City forward Chet Holmgren missed every game last season. He hasn't missed any this season, and was making his All-Star weekend debut in the Rising Stars event on Friday.

"It's a blessing to be here," Holmgren said. "I'm completely grateful. I don't take any of it for granted, especially knowing it can be taken away at any time."

SCOOT, ROUND 3

Most of the 28 players suiting up for the Rising Stars games are All-Star weekend rookies. Three -- Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin, Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray and Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler -- are in Indy for encore performances after earning first-team all-rookie honors last season.

Yet the most experienced player in the games is 20-year-old Scoot Henderson. The Portland Trail Blazers rookie played each of the past two seasons while playing for the G League Elite, and he could return next year for an unprecedented fourth appearance.

"The first two years, we didn't have to come here," he said. "They were huge opportunities for the G League and Elite, especially. So, I appreciate the opportunity. ... I think my mindset coming into it is to come out there and hoop and just be myself."

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