Later today, the Golden State Warriors will host the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals in Oakland. It's the fourth straight year the two teams have contested the championship, and anyone who watches basketball will be eager to see if LeBron James can pull off probably his greatest achievement yet and lead his team to victory against the odds. It's also the perfect time to release a new app related to the sport, and that's exactly what the NBA has just done.
The NBA AR app launched on iOS in October last year but is now available on Android too. It's an interesting concept — part game, part interactive experience. The new Portals feature encourages you to walk through a door and immerse yourself in a 360-degree video of your favorite stars. Understandably, the options are dominated by the Cavs/Dubs match-up right now. I had a go with it and it placed me on the court for pre-game introductions with the Cavaliers players. It wasn't the best quality, but if that's improved it could be a fairly cool idea.
Pop-a-shot is the other mode in the app, offering a rudimentary free-throw shooting game. You use AR to put the hoop in your house, before flinging your phone back and forth to fire off shots. I can't say this is especially well done either, but kids may enjoy it. Or maybe I was just too worried about smashing my windows due to the impressive nature of the AR implementation. (Or maybe not.)
There are other personalization options in the app, such as choosing your favorite team — although I'm not really sure what purpose that serves. Anyway, if you're a die-hard basketball fan looking for a way to kill some time ahead of game one later, why not give it a try. It's completely free to download and use.