Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Billy on the Box: Hoop springs eternal that NBA will get more exciting

Basketball has arrived on Sky Sports and just in case you didn’t realise the NBA decided to send a couple of teams over to the UK to make sure.

Hence ‘London Live’ was born as the Detroit Pistons played ‘host’ to the New York Knicks at the 02 Arena with presenter Kevin Cadle the natural choice to lead proceedings as he is (a) American and (b) huge.

“This arena is no stranger to big acts and two more will be added to the agenda tonight,” he vowed, and he wasn’t wrong as roving reporter Julie Collier (sadly not having inherited her dad, Norman’s, faulty microphone) pounced on well-known fans.

So we were treated to interviews with Greg Rusedski, just relieved to be surrounded by so many fellow North Americans, and Ashley Cole who showed the passion for the game in the UK is at fever pitch.

“Are you a big basketball fan?” he was asked. “No, not really,” came the reply, as a never-ending line of giant Americans took turns to run up on court, bounce the ball occasionally, score and then hand it to their opponents to do the same.

Not even hiring a commentator called Shaft could make this interesting as Mike took the mic alongside Rob Paternostro, head coach of the Leicester Riders. Oh, that Rob Paternostro…

Still, it is a learning process for us all, after all did you know that if you turned the 02 Arena upside down it would take 38 billion pints of beer to fill it and that you can fit 18,000 double decker buses in it? Typical, you wait for one and suddenly…

Hopefully things will return to normal and proper NBA will be conveyed to us with American coverage although I have bad news for Greg, there is no basketball franchise in Montreal.

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