Throw down: Now you can experience NBA All-Star weekend in VR

NextVR will be showing highlights from pro basketball's big spectacle in New Orleans.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
2 min read

Will Klay Thompson be able to defend his three-point shooting title during NBA All-Star weekend?

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Wanna see Golden State Warriors All-Star sharpshooter Klay Thompson win his second straight three-point contest in virtual reality?

Or, how about the Orlando Magic's high-flying Aaron Gordon throwing it down seemingly right in your face in this year's slam dunk contest? Wish no longer.

NextVR will be showing on-demand highlights of the big party that is the 2017 NBA All-Star weekend in the Big Easy. On Saturday, fans can watch the biggest moments from the skills challenge and three-point shooting and slam dunk contests. They can see LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant at the All-Star Game on Sunday.

The five-minute highlight packages can be viewed using Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR headsets and will be available shortly after TNT's televised broadcasts.

"The more we can bring fans closer to the action, the better," said Danny Keens, NextVR's vice president of content. "This is a great step in propelling virtual reality forward."

The highlights from NBA's biggest stage come in the middle of NextVR's first season airing NBA games in virtual reality. However, experts say because there are still some technical features to work out, fans are years away from truly experiencing sports in the medium.

"We have to try to continue offering something different than the traditional broadcasts," said Keens, noting that NextVR captured moments from the 2015 All-Star weekend.

That prior experience helps, said three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen, who provides color commentary on NextVR's broadcasts this season. He said calling the games in VR has been literally an "eye-opening" experience for him.

"I'm seeing the game now from a whole different perspective, and I've played in and seen a lot of games," said Bowen, adding that he's made the adjustment offering his analysis using various unmanned camera angles. "There's a lot more spontaneity. The big moments look even bigger."

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