Belfast Telegraph

Hoop springs eternal as BT goes to court

By Billy Weir

Another day and another tick on the wall chart of world domination in BT Sport headquarters with the arrival of basketball in the giant shapes and forms of the NBA.

Strangely, it took 16 games into the season for it to arrive on Sunday evening and it did so without any fanfare or much fuss and, strangely, minus any presenters, who could, as is the way here of covering American sports, have told us about the rules in a hugely patronising fashion.

No need, the rules are simple: One of your ambling giants in a vest gets the ball, bounces it a wee bit and then has a few seconds to throw it at the hoop and score. The other team of ambling giants in vests then gets the ball and do the same and this continues for an hour.

Instead of that it was straight over to Fox Sports in Los Angeles as the Clippers played host to the Indiana Pacers, although we are to be thankful I suppose that we weren't back in a studio and David Beckham had been drafted in to talk us through the game.

There was further disappointment that the Pacers were wearing gold and not white with a green stripe in the middle of their vests (kids, ask your parents about this one) and while we're on the subject, the retro feel was kept going by the inclusion of Paul George in the visitors' line-up.

Remarkably he was being marked by John Ringo on the other side. Okay, okay, I made that up.

Who we did have was Clippers' commentary duo Ralph Lawler, who is 75 and has possibly the best Twitter account ever in @ohmeomy, joined by Mike Smith – I wondered where he'd disappeared to. A different Mike Smith you say, so why is his Twitter account @noeledmondschum?

The most bizarre part of proceedings came when our intrepid duo appeared on screen during a break in play – and there are many – so a sponsored discussion can take place.

The best was certainly the 'Carmax Smart Choice where you never have to haggle a car price' and then they produced table tennis bats with 'haggle' and 'no haggle' on them to discuss if Paul George is the most improved player in the NBA. My money is still on John Ringo.

And so it continued, right up to the dramatic last few seconds of the game with the Pacers edging ahead 102-100 and then the words appeared that are the bane of the Sky+ generation – end of programme.

The subsequent rant was brought to you by Swearalot, making dockers blush for decades, as I peeled off my vest and chucked it at the telly. I'll certainly not be welcome back in Dixons ...

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