Remember the 1990′s? I do – fondly. In 1992, I was first made aware of a company named PonTel. What’s this got to do with basketball and the NBA you ask? Well, plenty. This company has been producing officially licensed NBA Game Videos since 1980! They were (obviously) VHS-based until the advent of DVD.
A friend of mine was a regular subscriber to PonTel – each week, for an entire season, he’d receive two VHS cassettes filled with games of his choosing; in this case (1992), the Portland Trailblazers. A fine choice indeed, given they made the NBA Finals that year, ultimately losing to the might of Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls.
For some inexplicable reason, it took until the 1996 NBA season – the Bulls’ record-setting jaunt – for me to finally subscribe to PonTel. Here in Australia, we were starved of NBA on free-to-air TV. We were lucky to see one game per week, albeit in edited form. Sure, Pay TV was finally emerging, but even then, the coverage we received paled into insignificance, compared to that afforded to American basketball fans.
Each week, I would head to the post office, highly anticipating the arrival of my two VHS cassettes; filled with NBA games and the most recent NBA Action episode from the previous week. Taking into account that the delivery of said games varied between 3 to 5 business days, PonTel were extremely efficient – in 1996, for me to be able to watch (weekly) around 7-8 hours of NBA footage, less than 1-2 weeks old, was amazing. The internet was in its formative days at the time; PonTel was my YouTube of today…and more.
How did you first get into following the NBA? I’d love to know…please add your comments below.
Click here for the back story to my adoration of Jordan and the NBA – dating back to 1989.