The Story of Robby Sikka, Doctor and Leader at the NBA



daily seems different for Robby Sikka, the vice president of basketball technology and performance for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He likely interacts with someplace between 25 and 50 individuals, whether it’s via telephone or video conference. His tasks vary from deciding the meals on the group’s menu to knowing and strategizing how they ought to tackle the COVID-19 catastrophe. He will arrange medical attention, speak to players about their bodily and psychological wellness, shed continuous upgrades on the pandemic at the business’s communications system (that he helped construct ), research new sports science information and connect with company CEOs, social justice activists, health specialists and more.

“Truly, it is everything and anything that the company requirements,” Sikka says. “I am dedicated because I only need to win so badly. I need the company to succeed and that I want the folks here to be prosperous. I have never been about a leading office or some group of trainers who care about one another. It is a household.”

What that household especially requests of Sikka has clearly changed since coronavirus closed down the NBA in mid-March, but his general function has stayed the same–draw from several resources and combine diverse viewpoints to think of the best answers to problems. In reality, that job is as important today as it has ever been.

Sikka’s daddy moved to Minnesota from India in 1969. He fell in love with all the regional sports teams instantly, recognizing his fandom as a single approach to assimilate to a new culture. The Timberwolves were based in 1989 along with also the Sikkas became season ticket holders straight away. In the times of Tony Campbell, Sam Mitchell, Pooh Richardson and Tyrone Corbin, Robby was totally hooked. It had been the centerpiece of his childhood and brought his whole family together.

He saw that the league’s greatest stars when they came to town and watched JR Rider triumph against the Dunk Contest when Minnesota hosted All-Star Weekend in 1994. He had been at their first playoff win against Seattle at 1998. He went back and forth from Penn, where he moved to school, any weekend which both Wolves and the Vikings were enjoying. He moved into Game 7 of those 2004 Western Seminar a day following his graduation, becoming home with only enough time to rest before going into the Target Center. His involvement celebration was in a package in the stadium along with his wedding was at the Marriott resort just across the road. A lot of his lifetime, he admits, has revolved around that building and team.

After the course of his family (26 doctors ), Sikka worked toward a career in the health care field. His strategy, following a summer project with an orthopedic centre serving pro sports businesses in Minnesota (TRIA), has been to develop into a group physician. That vision was thwarted when Sikka was diagnosed with keratoconus, a progressive eye disorder that prevented him from working. He resorted to getting an anesthesiologist and dedicated himself into the new occupation. However, his enthusiasm for sports constantly tugged at himand he kept pursuing methods to make it part of his profession.

“I have always been of the view that if there is something which you’re studying late at night, you need to find a means to make your job, since then it is not operate,” he states. “I do not mind working in the morning, studying and comprehension theories associated with physiology and sports ”

In 2013, Sikka came throughout the Twitter accounts of Jeff Stotts, a certified athletic trainer. Stotts was analyzing sports injuries and retrieval times and compiling his information NBA teams. It was just the sort of research that maintained Robby up till two:00 am. Sikka achieved and both soon formed a venture, producing the Sports Medicine Analytics Research Team (SMART). The business joint medical wisdom and analytics to inform NBA front offices concerning participant health/injury avoidance, appropriate remedies, when athletes must come back from the IR and more.

Minnesota’s president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas was among many who detected the value in these forward-thinking and pledged to integrate it farther into his or her organization. He hired Sikka at June of 2019, only a month after taking over, and suddenly the child who spent his youth idolizing the Wolves was a important area of the franchise.

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Sikka immediately got to work studying about the players and their own patterns (gym eating habits etc.) so as to create individualized training/nutrition applications that used data and catered to certain tastes. He employs technologies such as KINEXON to monitor player motion on the ground, making more exact patterns. His insights immediately helped the Timberwolves reduce their injury prices.

“Some men would like the exact same meal each single day, so perhaps we must alter the parts based on which their action was. Perhaps we must alter the hydration since the foods will be exactly the same,” he clarifies. “There are a variety of things which it is possible to change as you are attempting to find an athlete to summit mentally and emotionally at the ideal moment. It is not always about working harder, it is all about working smarter. We have to be effective with what we do in every conceivable manner.” 

Since coronavirus spread throughout the planet, Sikka had a sense given his backgroundthat it was likely to become a much bigger catastrophe than many expected. But he could not have predicted the seriousness of what is ensued throughout the past several months.

“I really don’t think anybody in the nation realized how challenging this could be and the way this virus could select at a few of the weakest areas of our civilization and point out the branches in our society,” he states. “And today we’ve got an opportunity, since great minutes are born from opportunities, to cure and to come together. I have always attempted to attract intriguing, smart groups of individuals together to collaborate on projects.”

Because of his distinctive ability set, Sikka continues to be in the heart of Minnesota’s answer to the pandemic, in addition to the NBA’s in large. He has been spearheading a collaborative research into the impacts of the disorder on the group and is one of ten members of the NBA’s sports science committee, that was a crucial source in this time period. The committee zeroed in on three queries in assisting the NBA conceive the resume in Orlando: 1) When we return to perform, how do we do it securely? 2) After we are there, how can we keep everyone in the region protected? 3) How do we return in a manner that benefits society as a whole and offers a model for many others? The NBA and NBPA declared on Wednesday the 344 players in the Disney World campus, none had tested positive for the coronavirus since outcomes were released on July 20.

All of the while, Sikka was a big element in holding his tight-knit Timberwolves team collectively –the one who has meant everything to him since he had been a tiny boy. He is always on the phone checking in with employees and ensuring that everybody adheres to the vital protocols and has exactly what they need (that the Wolves have been providing meals for their players and falling off supermarkets in their homes because March). He knows the devastation brought on by coronavirus and anxieties that others do not. He understands that we have to be there for one another, now more than ever before.

“For people who have lost somebody, the societal elements of the disease are things which people have an extremely hard time understanding. The isolation, the capacity for dying independently, the feelings of being overwhelmed–these are actual things,” he states. “We do not see enough of those faces which were lost at this time. We are forgetting about these faces and dismissing lots of that around the nation. That is what disturbs me today and it is a part of the reason I am eager to discuss it. We must do our very best to safeguard one another, just like we have done inside the Timberwolves. We must secure our loved ones.

“Bringing smart individuals together to think of smart answers is what is likely to get us from this,” he adds.

And that is what Robby Sikka does best.


Alex Squadron is an Associate Editor in SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @asquad510.

Photographs via Getty, Sabrina Sikka and DJ Sikka.



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