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New AR app lets you step into a portal to the NBA Finals

So you couldn’t get a ticket to the NBA Finals and therefore will not get to see the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors battle it for the championship in person. Don’t feel bad, it’s cheaper to watch from the couch.

Still, there’s nothing quite like seeing an NBA game in-person. However, even with the largest and highest quality TVs it is tough to get a real understanding of not only how big the players are, but also how much speed and athleticism they play with.

But if you want to get an up-close look at LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant or one of the other great players on the floor, you can. Through the wonders of technology, it can be like you are sitting courtside.

It’s all about augmented reality

Augmented reality, or “AR,” is essentially the term for bringing parts of the digital or virtual world into real-life settings. It is popular in games like Pokemon Go (remember when that was a big thing?), and is being used more and more as the technology becomes more refined.

For the NBA, the new feature is part of an update for their free NBA AR app, which was released last October and works for both iOS and Android. At the time, it was used for a shooting game that superimposed a court and hoop wherever you were.

Now it will also create doorways that will look as if they are part of the world around you. To access them you need to, after downloading and installing the app, open it up and place the AR target somewhere around you.

Once you do, a doorway will appear and give you a peek at what is on the other side. Then just walk toward and through the door, letting the app transport you directly to the NBA world.

The app, which can be downloaded for iOS here and for Android here, will provide a 360-degree view of the scene. During the Conference Finals that included pregame and warmup moments, but the NBA Finals are featuring even more.

These days you also get to experience player introductions and huddles along with post-game celebrations as if you were there. The NBA also showed off what will be some even more special on-demand content from the Finals.

When you are done experiencing it all and want to walk back into your world, just turn around and go back through the portal in the other direction.

Is this the start of a trend?

As previously stated, AR technology is not new. It is becoming more prominent, however, as it is a way to give people a more immersive virtual experience.

Therefore, it is likely that this will not be the last you hear of the technology. What the NBA is doing now is a test run, with an eye toward doing even more in the future.

Down the road the NBA is hopeful for introducing things like in-game highlights to the platform, while also giving the experience a more social feel.

The NBA app is cool, but so are these other 14 that everyone should have

Sorting through every available app can be quite the task — there are nearly 6 million apps to choose from between the Apple App Store and Google Play Store — which is why we have compiled a list of 14 apps everyone should have on their phone. Click here to see it.

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