In a typically inconsiderate move, those bolshy New Worlders have decided to stage the NBA Finals in the middle of the night. In fact, they have a tendency to do this throughout the season, too. "Ooh, look at us, asserting our independence from stale old Europe by using our own time zones," they seem to sneer. Bah! They'll be destroying the King's English next, mark my words!
So I don't really know what whichever station is showing the games are doing for half-time (yes, there's a hyphen in there! Quit stealing our punctuation, America!). I'm guessing they're showing ads and talking about the game at hand, as opposed to the ITV approach at major football tournaments: ads, a feature about some English fans who have painted a George's cross on a bus and driven it to the host nation†, ads, "And now for the second half of whoever versus whatchamacallthem — how will this affect England's chances? Stick around, because at full-time, we have an interview with England's incredibly bored third-choice goalkeeper, who only got into the squad because the original third-choice keeper got injured when he tripped over his wife's Pomeranian and chipped his tooth on the bidet. Hear all about how being the most useless member of the entire travelling party has scarred his psyche in ways he could never have imagined before, throwing him into a profound existential...Haha! Just kidding! He'll be muttering on about what a great atmosphere there is in the camp and how it's an honour just to be in the squad and how the next game is going to be really tough, but the lads are confident, y'know. There's a really great anecdote about how Wayne Rooney keeps going round in flip-flops and white socks! Banter, you see! We're the players' chums! We're showing you the human side of your England heroes who will conquer all before them and make them succumb to our Manifest Destiny!"
Kind of makes you sad it's an odd-numbered year, really.
Anyway, CBS used half-time in game two of the 1975 finals to present a story about the craze that was sweeping some part of the nation. It looks to me like a poignant glimpse into a future that never was: where people play strip backgammon, where the expression "backgammon face" is common, where the devil sticks red hot backgammons up your arse, where Channel 4 broadcast the strangely compelling Late Night Backgammon. And where Washington and Golden State are elite teams.
Put it this way: if this was in the Olympics, and it was on screen 7 on BBC's red button, I'd watch it. I'm not even joking.
It's not a patch on this, though:
Backgammon video via some blog I can't remember, from several weeks ago. If anyone happens to know, do tell me so I can give proper credit.
† They actually did this in 2006.