Liam Rudden: Sporting life a winner on court and screen

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IF you’re into sports, then the chances are you can’t be into the arts, and vice versa. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard that one.

It’s nonsense, of course, although the sports that always attracted my attention tended to be the more spectacular kind - speedway, for example, or baseball, F1 and, for a long time my favourite, basketball, I even played at school.

At five foot and a fag packet, I’m sure the only reason I ever got onto the court was because our PE teacher, Kelso rugby hero Andrew Ker, felt sorry for me. Or maybe it was because he thought I could clown around like the famous Harlem Globetrotter of the time, Meadowlark Lemon, and put the other team off.

Edinburgh had a thriving basketball scene back then, teams like Cavalry Park and Boroughmuir ruling the roost. There were regular matches at Meadowbank Stadium and even the odd world championship match. Murray International Metals and the Edinburgh Rocks would come later, before the sport all but vanished.

I was reintroduced to basketball on a trip to New York. Watching LeBron James making it look all too easy at Madison Square Gardens highlighted the drama that world class players can muster when evenly matched. So, when the DVD Red Reign: The Chicago Bulls 1st NBA Championship dropped on my desk the other day, I couldn’t resist.

The disc documents a remarkable season for the team from Chicago, as they blow away one challenger after another to become number one in the league.

It doesn’t happen over night, however, and there are tears of anger, delight and despair along the way. It’s the age old story of what happens when the underdog suddenly gets the break they’ve been waiting for, the moment the ugly duckling becomes a swan.

It’s also as good a drama as any you’ll see on the big screen or stage, and a great introduction, or reintroduction, to a sport that once had its own golden age here in the Capital.

• Red Reign: The Chicago Bulls 1st NBA Championship is released on DVD