We didn’t know about this story until a commenter on YouTube alerted us to it. That’s usually not strange because if I’m being honest with you — whoooooole lot of dumb-dumbs around these parts. But, this story happens to be about basketball and even Seth didn’t know about it, and he’s watched dozens of games (or so he claims).
The video above tells the story of how game five of the 1976 NBA Finals ended. Simple enough concept, sure. But there was a moment at the end of the second overtime that could have led to this being one of the most famous nights in NBA history. Thanks to a loophole, the Suns managed to force a third overtime by calling a timeout that they didn’t actually have. It could have sent all of Boston crying “foul” and everyone else being like, “what’d they yell? I can’t understand that accent.” It could have propelled the Suns to heights the franchise still hasn’t reached. It could have done a lot of things. It just didn’t. Celtics won, case closed, didn’t matter.
That sort of thing might be my favorite idea within sports. Sports have this strange knack of letting something small — a score, a call, a play — become mind-bendingly consequential, then suddenly reverse that consequence. Something else happens that renders it null, and life moves on.
One of our other shows, Rewinder, captures this sort of thing. The goal of every Rewinder is to take a singular moment — sometimes one as short as three seconds — and fill in all the gaps in our memories of what led up to that instant, and therefore why it actually mattered. When we watch a game live we’re rarely conscious of all the events that got us to that point, but they are nonetheless felt in a way that heightens the situation.
The result of a game, however, can completely wash out everything that made it special in the first place. It can make us forget how close we were to an alternate reality that now feels laughable. And within a few days, weeks, months, we’ve moved on to the next exciting thing, leaving the past on its own to try and weather the sands of time.
Oh, and in this case there’s also a guy named Dick Powers, which is fantastic. Give it a watch.