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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

Updated 35 seconds ago - Economy & Business

World Bank: Gap between rich and poor countries is widening

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For the last two decades, incomes in poorer countries were catching up to rich countries. The pandemic economy of the 2020s may reverse the trend, the World Bank warns in a new report.

Why it matters: Falling inequality between countries has been one of the most positive trends of the 21st century. If it reverses, it implies more human suffering and geopolitical instability.

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."