The NBA Finals are mostly known for the players, the games, and the trophies, but on rare occasions, the world of technology shows up to give fans an extra boost of NBA glory.
I met up with Senior Vice President of Digital Product Management for the NBA, Michael Allen, between sprints from the court to the media room, to the locker room, back to the court, up in the stands, and back to the media room again, to demo the newest tech from the NBA.
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Picture this: You're sitting on your couch at home, there's a soda in your right hand and a bag of Tostitos on the coffee table in front of you. You have neatly placed a small bowl of salsa next to the chips. You think about getting up to grab napkins but the game is about to start and you're too afraid to miss a play.
Beyond the coffee table is your flat screen TV. It's nice, respectable, good size. You put a soundbar on it so that the game would jump out of the screen.
Even though your current setup is great, you can't help but wonder what's next. How can you actually get in the game without shelling out thousands of dollars for Finals tickets?
The answer to that question is beyond a small, virtual door on the NBA VR app.
"The NBA AR app portal allows fans access into 360 video that you can pin anywhere in your house, outside, wherever it might be," said Allen. "It provides behind-the-scenes content that you can get nowhere else."
I thought about portal guns, like the one from the popular TV show "Rick and Morty" and wondered how the app could capture the lightning-in-a-bottle energy of the NBA Finals.
Standing near the court, Allen triggered the portal on the app, pointed it at one of the towering staircases at Oracle Arena, and we walked up to it.
Seeing the augmented reality of the place you're actually standing in is pretty jarring. The app's portal bled blue and gold in Warriors pregame fashion, juxtaposed against the gold Strength In Numbers T-shirts draped over the arena's chairs.
"So this is reality," I said, pointing to the grand scene of Oracle in real life.
"And this is the augmented reality," I added, looking at the virtual world in front of me.
Allen says that the NBA's goal was to get the product out before the NBA Finals. Clearly, they succeeded.
Let's get back to you on your couch...
You get up and point your phone at the TV, scanning the room with your new "portal gun." Suddenly, the video pins on your carpet and a glittering portal flies up from the floor, digitally enhancing the experience of the game you long to be part of. All you have to do now is walk up to the virtual door, step inside, and look around.
You're now in another world -- the world of the NBA Finals.
For more information on the NBA's new AR portal, visit this page.
And to download the NBA's new AR app, visit this page.
You can watch all of the NBA Finals on ABC7 presented by YouTube TV, and make sure to tune in to "Toyota After the Game" with ABC7 Sports Anchor Larry Beil, Adonal Foyle and Kerry Keating for highlights and analysis.
For all the NBA Finals and Golden State Warriors hype, visit this page.
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