We are hours from Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and in Bangkok, Thailand, a 15-year-old NBA fan is itching to watch Stephen Curry’s famed warm-up routine. The Chase Center is a 17-hour flight and thousands of American dollars away, but sitting in her living room, she picks up her phone, opens the NBA’s augmented reality app, and walks three feet to step into a portal that traverses 7, 900 miles.
The screen takes her courtside, just steps away from Curry as he begins the daily ritual that induces thousands of fans to line up early and enter the arena hours prior to Warriors games. She pans to her left, where Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser corrals a rebound and feeds Curry’s pocket.
The girl’s mother isn’t much of a sports fan, but there’s only one TV and the kids always win. During the game, she points her iPhone camera toward the TV, and optical trackers fix a blurb of every player’s interests over their heads. She finds out Kyrie Irving is a flat-earther and develops an immediate rooting interest in the Warriors. The girl’s brother, an analytics aficionado, has true shooting percentage, block rate, and turnover percentage hovering over players on his Android instead.
In transition, Andre Iguodala lobs the ball to Kevin Durant and he posterizes Jayson Tatum. On the bottom of the app, the best memes and reactions on NBA Twitter pop up, and a multi-angle replay will be available in minutes.
The clock dwindles to zero, Draymond Green whips the ball into the air, and the Warriors win their third straight championship. The family portals into the middle of the Chase Center arena, where fans, cameras, reporters, and staffers swarm and NBA employees construct a make-shift stage with the Larry O’Brein Trophy awaiting. The boy turns his phone to the right, where Bill Russell lingers, while his sister is staring up at the ceiling, where three championship banners hang in the rafters.