Pistons vs. Knicks in London: Not everyone had fun

It's not as interesting as the report from our fan in the stands, but Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph (hat-tip: @patrick_hayes) wrote an amusing column on the NBA experience -- and in particular, the non-stop effort to distract the crowd form the actual game:

The attention deficit of a basketball crowd is such that even the game itself has to proceed against an extraneous soundtrack of jaunty accordion music.

Not that this appeared to bother the Premier League's delegation of fair-weather hoops fans, led by Tim Howard, Patrick Vieira and Shaun Wright-Phillips, all of them apparently so enraptured with the hyperactive spectacle that they forgot to notice the fearful trouncing administered to the Detroit Pistons.

It is familiar, this disorientating effect. We British like our sport served up with a breathless intensity, but the Pistons' 102-87 defeat on Thursday night to the New York Knicks came layered with such incessant interruptions that all but the most ardent aficionados swiftly lost touch with the balance of play. Carmelo Anthony's metronomic free-throws for the Knicks were all very well, but they became almost incidental as the audience's eyes wandered to gyrating cheerleaders and the Pistons' donkey mascot bashing an oversized drum.

[...] Those Arsenal aristocrats of Vieira and Robert Pires wore contented expressions from their front-row seats, and few could deny that this 11th regular-season instalment of the NBA in London was zealously received.

Stern, indeed, claimed that the NBA "could not return often enough" to their satellite base here at the O₂. The only problem was that amid the unending din, whether from impromptu coaching clinics or Misha B's shrill half-time show, it was often damnably difficult to tell whether there was still a basketball match taking place.

Brown's curmudgeonly manner aside, I must agree with some of his points: namely, attending an NBA game in person can be overwhelming.

I get that casual fans need to be entertained during timeouts, but the constant barrage of Kiss-Cams, jumbotron races, on-court shooting competitions for grocery store gift certificates, t-shirt cannons, hot dog rows ... it's over the top, too loud and most of the time just plain annoying. Of course, it's become part of the routine that it's now taken for granted -- at least, I suppose, until a grumpy foreigner reminds us.

Get off my lawn. Now your thoughts.

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