Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies.

The state of play: Biden also raised arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to a White House readout. The statement said Biden and Putin agreed maintain "consistent communication," and that Biden stressed the U.S. would "act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies."

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.