Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) taps Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) as he goes to the basket on June 5, 2019. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Thanks to the success of the Golden State Warriors, I've been able to attend the NBA Finals the past several years to check out the latest and greatest tech trend or gimmick.

Background: Over the years I've seen everything from 360-degree replays to Facebook Messenger bots. Virtual reality has been a frequent area of interest, but it was less so this year. (There's no live broadcast, but NextVR is doing next-day highlights.)

What's new: Instead, most of the league's tech experiments were focused on online and social media.

  • NBA League Pass: For the international version of its subscription service, the NBA is offering several alternate feeds for the finals. Using data from basketball tech firm Second Spectrum, viewers can get enhanced stats for players, see the Xs and Os in coach view, or get the mascot version with augmented reality digital cheers.
    • The downside is that those feeds are all delayed 2.5 minutes or so, but the company and league are trying to get it as close to real-time as possible.
  • Google Lens: Using the Google app and pointing the camera at a Warriors, Raptors or NBA Finals logo will pull up information about the league.
  • Snapchat: The Snapchat augmented reality experiment is limited to a single banner at each stadium which, when in view of the app's camera, transforms into a highlight reel of the hometown team.

Between the lines: These are all admittedly experiments to see what sticks, NBA VP of emerging technologies Scott Stanchak tells Axios. The goal is to keep fans engaged and not moving on to the next app or notification.

  • "Fans have so many choices," Stanchak said. "Not just from basketball perspective, but also from an entertainment perspective."

Meanwhile, Twitter tried its own experiment, inviting several of its most prolific local hoops commenters to watch the game from a suite and tweettheir thoughts with the hashtag #NBATwitter.

  • Along with Axios Sports editor Kendall Baker, I had the chance to witness the passion, enthusiasm (and eventual disappointment) of the half dozen or so influencers, as well as a number of Twitter employees who saw their hometown team go down to a 123-109 defeat.
  • Check out Kendall's coverage in Axios Sports (and sign up too).

Tech execs were well represented as well. I bumped into Salesforce founder Marc Benioff courtside before the game, while also said to be in attendance were Rakuten CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, Hewlett Packard Enterprise President Keerti Melkote and Uber CMO Rebecca Messina.

Go deeper

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

2 hours ago - Health

Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to aides who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.