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Kelly Dwyer

Stop taking up our TV screen space, NBA

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

Is this just another rant? A frustration without much legs? Too limited in its scope? Too obscure to become a hit?

Sure. And I don't care. I worked damn hard for the right to be handed a bully pulpit, only to waste its impact.

With the football season down to one game, and the NHL sadly playing on a channel in the 600s, the NBA is about to take center stage. It already has a litany of nationally-televised contests, but those numbers will only increase as Sundays are freed up, and the playoffs begin in two and a half months. And with nationally televised games come in-game interviews.

And with in-game interviews, comes this:

View photo


(Image courtesy Sebastian Pruiti's brilliant NBA Playbook website.)

It's not the interview I mind. I'll put up with 300 lame Adam Sandler interviews if it means getting to glean in one interview a bit of knowledge, however deliberately vague, from someone like Doc Rivers. And I can tolerate Rivers' face being up on the screen, as the action plays elsewhere, in small doses. What I don't get is all that background imagery. What is that? Why is it there?

The weird Thunderdome-thing to the sides of both split screens, with the lights and graphics and, I don't know, AC/DC music blaring. What happened to the straight split-screen, with Rivers and the game action taking up exactly half the screen? What happened to the small picture-in-picture, with Rivers taking up 20 percent of the action? Why is nearly half of my screen being taken up with visuals that aren't either the basketball game, or Doc Rivers' head?

What's worse is that most of these semi-screens come in the first play out of a timeout, which often gives viewers the absolute best chance to scout a team, as it is usually the possession that most clearly reflects the coach's most insistent priorities. This is the play this team wants to run, above all, and I can barely see it. Not because Doc's head is in the way, but because a good portion of the screen has been taken up by ... again, what is that? Like, a Scorpions video? Are there women in cages? Should we be concerned?

Just show me the play, TV stations, as we draw nearer to the playoffs. You can even split it up with Doc's head. But don't waste 60 percent of the screen with this weird background image, and a needless logo of the program that we're actually watching. It's one thing to have an advertisement of Lois and Peter dancing down the bottom of the screen during a Simpsons episode. It's another for them to dance in an advertisement during an actual Family Guy episode, advertising the show you've already tuned into (though, lord knows why you would).

And, no, I'm not edgy because I quit smoking or caffeine or something. I'm edgy because I was allowed to quit national TV broadcasts for about six months, but was forced back into the habit on Sunday afternoon.

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