After hosting former President Barack Obama and a group of first-time poll workers as virtual fans for Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals, the league is bringing in a group of children and celebrities for Game 2.
Fifty children from the Challengers Clubhouse, a division of the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club, will fill virtual seats. The group was the received of a new “Makers Space” tech lab as part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020 NBA Cares Finals Legacy Project.
Joining the Challengers Clubhouse members for the game will be a slew of professional athletes and celebrities including Richard Sherman, Tyrod Taylor, Chiney Ogwumike, Iman Shumpert, Schoolboy Q, LL Cool J, Mike Golic Jr., Cordae, Bad Bunny, and others.
Throughout the NBA’s bubble season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus, more than 300 NBA fans each game have appeared live on the “Michelob Ultra Courtside” 17-foot video boards surrounding the court. In addition to President Obama, other notable attendees have included students from LeBron James’ “I Promise” school, current NBA players’ families, NBA players who weren’t in the bubble, retired professional athletes like Peyton Manning, Chris Bosh and Paul Pierce — and last, but not least, pets.
The fans watching virtually can interact with each other throughout the game using Microsoft Teams’ “Together mode,” which removes fans from their individual backgrounds and brings them together in a shared visual space seen through the broadcast and in the venue. Various teams have selected virtual fans in their own way. Some held virtual sweepstakes, for example, while others offered spots to season ticket holders.