New LeBron James Innovation Center is the home of Nike's new Sport Research Lab

·3 min read

The new home of Nike innovation is fit for a King (James). Today Nike (NKE) announced the rebirth of its Nike Sport Research Lab (NSRL) in the new LeBron James Innovation Center, which sits at the center of Nike’s campus in Beaverton, Oregon.

The NSRL is five-times larger than the original, which was created 40 years ago in Exeter, New Hampshire, to create and test products to help athletes perform.

The new center houses the world's largest motion-capture installation (with over 400 cameras), body mapping equipment, a full-size basketball court, a 200-meter endurance track, a 100-meter straightaway, and an artificial turf training pitch to help Nike capture athletes in motion. There are also four advanced climate chambers that can mimic a variety of conditions. 

Sustainability is an integral feature of the center. According to Nike, 85% or 4 million pounds of construction debris were diverted from landfills through Nike’s partnership with Waste Management; 70% of the wood used in the building is from sustainable sources, and 100% is from noncontroversial sources.

The center will also run on 100% renewable electricity and features a 322 kw rooftop solar array. It is expected to generate about 10% of the building’s electricity. The remaining 90% of electricity is 100% renewable, serviced by wind farms in the Columbia Gorge.

'Make athletes better'

“Our goal every single day is to make athletes better and to make the world better for athletes,” says Kathy Gomez, VP of Footwear Innovation. “Understanding more types of bodies, more genders, more backgrounds and different ability levels helps us create better and more specific product.”

The center's namesake said he is proud to have the center named after him. “I’m definitely honored to be one of the Nike athletes to have a building represent their name,” James said.

“The inside of it and the outside of it, the architecture of it, the story behind it, everything that goes on inside this building is unbelievable. Over the course of my career and my time here at Nike, for all of this to come together is surreal. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m definitely honored.”

the LeBron James Innovation Center — NIKE
the LeBron James Innovation Center — NIKE

“I think this building is a match made in heaven when it comes to my career. Just being able to continue to innovate, continue to tap into yourself and give it your all. Understanding that your body is your temple, and that’s everything in life,” James said.

“And that’s not just for professional athletes, that’s for anyone, being able to understand your body and how to get the most out of it. I’m always trying to figure out ways I can continue to innovate, and ways I can continue to break the timeline of what they say is your prime, and that’s what it comes down to.”

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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