Fantastic? Not quite, but here’s what fans look like in NBA’s virtual experience using Microsoft Teams

Video boards surrounding an NBA basketball court will project images of fans watching from home. (NBA Photo)

Courtside seats at a Lakers game used to be such a prestigious thing. But 2020 is a different NBA fan experience thanks to the pandemic, and it doesn’t look like Jack Nicholson made it into a test of video technology at a recent practice.

As part of its partnership with Microsoft, the NBA is ringing the court with 17-foot video boards to allow a select number of fans to experience upcoming games via Microsoft Teams “Together” mode.

A clip of the video collaboration software being put to the test showed up on Twitter over the weekend as Lakers players participated in a shoot-around.

The tech is intended to give participating fans “the feeling of sitting next to one another at a live game without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes, while players experience their energy and support in-venue,” according to a news release last week.

Digitally cut out fans appear as if they’re on the same background. They’re seen waving frantically on the giant screens and at first glance it all just seems rather distracting. Perhaps Microsoft will have the ability to make all participants the same size and hand waving won’t be cut off.

NBA teams are scrimmaging now in Orlando, Fla., before the restart of the season on Thursday. The screens are visible (without Microsoft-included fans) in other videos, including some shot with a “railcam” that runs along the court for a unique viewing angle.

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