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The time Cisco's Rob Soderbery hooped it up vs. NBA's Kyrie Irving

Interop demo showed Cisco exec made good call going into tech, not basketball

When Cisco's Rob Soderbery took on the Cavs' Kyrie Irving
Credit: Shutterstock

Reading about Cisco exec Rob Soderbery's departure from the company, I couldn't help thinking back to the first time I came across the enterprise products muckety-muck: Back at Interop 2013 in Las Vegas, where Soderbery took on Cleveland Cavalier star Kyrie Irving in a basketball shooting contest in the name of IoT marketing.

The Stanford- and Caltech-educated Soderbery was pumping up Cisco's vision for software-defined networking as well as the internet of things, and it is IoT where the Irving cameo came in.  Cisco was getting into the game of a much more connected pro sports world, where sensors in everything from basketball shoes to basketballs help teams better measure player and team performance and improve the fan experience.

Anyway, it was during Cisco's keynote address that Soderbery -- decked out in some bright blue shoes -- took on Irving in a 90-second shooting contest. It wasn't pretty for either of them actually, but eventually Irving heated up and shut out the Cisco exec 8-0. Soderbery missed all 8 of his shots, which included a variety of airballs and maybe the worst layup attempt I've ever witnessed (see video below: skip ahead to 5-minute mark)

Not that I didn't have sympathy for Soderbery that morning. I went to college with Irving's dad, a very good player in his own right, and fared just as poorly when facing him in pick-up ball.

I wish Soderbery, who spent 7 years at Cisco and before that worked at Veritas and Symantec, the best in whatever comes next for him. Maybe Cisco will even take down the incriminating video below as a parting gift.

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