On one end of the CenturyLink Events Center at last week’s GeekWire Bash, former NBA star Detlef Schrempf sank jumpers like it was the 1996 NBA Finals. Nearby was Sounders FC defender Brad Evans playing as himself on the Xbox One, battling local CEOs in games of FIFA 16 while teammates like Stefan Frei and Chad Marshall duked it out on the ping pong tables.
It was a blast having some of Seattle’s top sports stars at the fifth annual GeekWire Anniversary Bash, where more than 1,500 people joined us for dodgeball, basketball, video games, beer pong, cornhole, sumo wrestling, March Madness, massages, and action-packed sold-out ping pong and foosball tournaments.
Schrempf, the three-time NBA All-Star who played five seasons for the Supersonics in the 90s, squared off against attendees in games of “G-E-E-K.”
“It’s probably the most baskets I’ve shot in like 10 years,” he said. “I can’t get off the ground, but I still have the touch.”
Schrempf was also at our first Anniversary Bash in 2011, returning again five years later to celebrate with Seattle’s geeks.
“It’s really cool to see the growth, with all the different tech startups and companies,” he said. “We have a great community here.”
The 6-foot-10 native of Germany added that he was “always a wannabe geek,” and was the first guy on his team to buy a computer and take it apart.
Evans, meanwhile, said he considers himself a geek.
“I’m on GeekWire, on Reddit, on Twitter, on Instagram — I really enjoy technology and being here checking out new things and mingling with people,” said Evans, who was also at the 2011 Bash.
Evans admitted that he’s not a polished FIFA player — “my wife says ‘too much time on FIFA, not enough time cleaning the house,'” he noted — but said he loves playing Clash of Clans.
“We have a nice Clash of Clans group on the team,” he said. “It brings guys together on road trips. It can get a bit competitive and a little bit pissy, but it’s a good time.”
The Sounders defender, who’s been with the team since 2009, also talked about the use of heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices in professional soccer today.
“It’s really changed the game for us,” he said. “Monitoring player workload is massive.”
We also caught up with Sounders FC owner Adrian Hanauer, who said that “we’re in the first inning of sports and technology converging.”
“It’s kind of fun and cool and that’s why it’s converging in such a fast way — people love sports and people love technology,” he said.
Alan McGinnis, who’s heading up a new Seattle-based sports fan engagement startup called Enthrall Sports, noted that the timing is right for sports and technology to come together.
“It’s a great time with the sports world needing to embrace some of this new technology,” he said. In order to capture the energy going on in sports, GeekWire has partnered with The Seattle Sounders and Eiger Marketing to launch the inaugural GeekWire Sports Tech Summit, coming up on July 12-13. Early-bird tickets to this one-of-a-kind event are on sale here.
Watch our interviews with the sports stars and executives — including the Mariners Moose — below.