Good Design Is Helping NBA Players Win (And Getting Them Laid)

NBA road wins have reached unprecedented heights. According to a report from ESPN, the age of Instagram and Tinder is driving the change.

Good Design Is Helping NBA Players Win (And Getting Them Laid)
[Photo: mipan/iStock]

Sometimes it’s hard to quantify how much design really improves our lives. Does saving a few moments when sending an email, or using a new electric tea kettle for the first time, really matter in the grand scheme? The answer is, yes–and in ways we can often never imagine.


Consider this strange, niche anecdote reported by ESPN. After dozens of interviews about why the NBA players of today are winning more road games than ever before, many concluded the answer was “Tinderization.” Instead of schmoozing women in clubs at all hours of night when they’re on the road, NBA players turn to easy-to-use apps that basically turn their sex life into an Uber delivery:

“Indeed, various apps have done for sex in the NBA what Amazon has done for books. One no longer needs to leave home to find a party. The party now comes to you. And lifestyle judgments aside, the NBA road life is simply more efficient–and less taxing–when there aren’t open hours spent trolling clubs.

“It’s absolutely true that you get at least two hours more sleep getting laid on the road today versus 15 years ago,” says one former All-Star, who adds that players actually prefer Instagram to Tinder when away from home. “No schmoozing. No going out to the club. No having to get something to eat after the club but before the hotel.”

The NBA player staring at a 9:30 a.m. team breakfast in a hotel conference room the morning of the game can now log seven or eight hours of z’s and still enjoy a tryst. Thanks to direct messaging and texting, some NBA players even arrange to have keys left at the front desk so dates can be inside the room when a player arrives at the hotel.

With the effects of the home court advantage at an all-time low this season–home teams win just 57.4% of games–it’s remarkable how these clear, functional designs can have such rippling consequences.

[Photo: dkhoriaty/iStock]
Of course, as good as the story is, Tinderization is not the only thing changing the way NBA players approach their off hours. As ESPN points out, professional athletes act far more professionally these days. Some of that is due to the double-edged sword of smartphones–that anything they do wrong or stupid can go public, fast. But it’s also evident in the shift to private charters from public jets, which means players have more time to sleep. According to ESPN, they even drink less booze aboard these team-centric flights, and are less dehydrated on the road as a result. Maybe all of us road warriors could learn a lesson from that.

[Thanks, Cliff!]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.