The NBA Finals is always a time filled with many emotions. As two opposing teams from different cities come head-to-head for the fight of their life, feelings of happiness, excitement, anxiety and pure adrenaline is sure to flow through anyone watching the championship games. For few thousand of us basketball fans, attending one of these games happens through a hook-up or by coughing up the dollars to witness the once-in-a-lifetime experience. For the rest of us, the annual moment is seen from a 4-sided panel (or 2) at a venue large enough to host a viewing party for you and your crew. Now, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is looking to change all that, thanks to their novel partnership with Oculus.
Nearly 3 years after experimenting with virtual reality during the 2013-14 NBA Season (at a Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets game) and eventually bringing the first virtual reality experience to the NBA All-Star Games, the basketball league and virtual reality technology company have reunited for another virtual reality event, but in the form of a mini movie, entitled FOLLOW MY LEAD: The Story of the 2016 NBA Finals, narrated by actor Michael B Jordan and produced by m ss ng p eces.
In the 25-minute sports documentary-styled motion picture, fans are taken on an interactive storytelling ride into the Oracle Arena where thousands of Cavs and Warriors fans root on their favorite team. With the help of Samsung’s latest virtual reality device, viewers are given a 360-degree point of view, from the game’s court side seats to the behind-the-scenes moments before and after the big game. Throughout the film, fans enjoy up close and personal experiences as though their behind the camera (like when Lebron James pretends to shoot a kick into the lens or when Shaquile O’Neal playfully fans some Kleenex in your face). What’s most interesting about FOLLOW MY LEAD is that viewers get a full, three-dimensional feel of the entire space of each scene, with the simple body rotation or swivel of a seat.
To help bring the realistically engaging experience to life, the NBA and Oculus enlisted directors Gabe Spitzer and Ray Tintori as well as writer Aaron Cohen to birth the historic narrative and one-of-a-kind experience. During a preview of the newly released Gear VR-powered film earlier this week (Sept. 13), VIBE had the opportunity to chat with Eugene Wei, Head of Video (of Oculus), Jeff Marsilio (Vice President, Global Media Distribution, NBA) and Ari Kuschnir (Founder and Executive Producer of m ss ng p eces) to find out why basketball fans around the world should be excited to experience this unique, long form film.
Flip through the gallery up top to read 4 reasons why it’s worth the watch.
If you don’t own a Gear VR headset, you can purchase one below and then download FOLLOW MY LEAD: The Story of the 2016 NBA Finals Available for free via the Oculus Store. You can also visit the New York City flagship NBA store and check out the new film today until 6pm EST. More info below.