As the last city in America to have hockey and basketball teams in the playoffs, we in Detroit have a unique problem.

It can all get so confusing. Slam dunks on Tuesdays? Slap shots on Wednesdays? Or is it the other way around?

What channel are we on?

Which round is it?

How do we know which sport we’re watching?

There are many differences between the NBA and the NHL, not the least of which is you’ve never seen hockey players’ knees.

Still, these are confusing times. So I am here to help. Having covered both sports for many years, I can offer the definitive guide for telling which is which.

Ready?

You know it’s basketball when you can’t see the foul.

You know it’s hockey when you can’t see the puck.

You know it’s basketball when the player goes down.

You know it’s hockey when the player gets up.

You know it’s basketball when the cheerleaders sign autographs.

You know it’s hockey when the Zamboni driver signs autographs.

You know it’s basketball when Snoop Dogg is in the locker room.

You know it’s hockey when real dogs are in the locker room.

You know it’s basketball when the players are dating models.

You know it’s hockey when the players marry them.

In hockey, a four-point lead is a lock.

In basketball, a 25-point lead is suspect.

In hockey, the last two minutes feel like six seconds.

In basketball, the last two minutes feel like an eternity.

In hockey, a “good check” means you creamed the other guy.

In basketball, a good check is $2,304,677.50.

In hockey, they go to the Olympics for glory.

In basketball, they go for the golf.

In hockey, they play Game 1 Monday, Game 2 Wednesday and Game 3 Friday.

In basketball, they play Game 1 in April, Game 2 in May and Game 3 TBA.

You know it’s basketball when Jay-Z is playing in the locker room.

You know it’s hockey when Garth Brooks is playing in the locker room.

You know it’s basketball if players scowl when they come to the bench.

You know it’s hockey if players gasp when they come to the bench.

You know it’s basketball if the fans boo the Canadian national anthem.

You know it’s hockey if the fans know the words to the Canadian national anthem.

You would never see a hockey player remove his earring.

You would never see a basketball player remove his teeth.

You would never see a hockey player do an interview in a shower cap.

You would never see a basketball player do an interview while bleeding.

You would never see Charles Barkley wearing Don Cherry’s high collar.

You would never see Don Cherry wearing Charles Barkley’s dog collar.

You would never see a hockey player named Del’icious.

You would never see a basketball player named Trevor.

In basketball, “Dougie” is the kid who gets the doughnuts.

In hockey, “Dougie” is your All-Star center.

In basketball, they slam into each other during intros.

In hockey, they save that for the game.

In basketball, when a guy pulls his shirt over his head, he’s done.

In hockey, when a guy pulls a shirt over his head, he’s just getting started.

In basketball, you get The Doctor, The Glove and The Answer.

In hockey, you get Shanny and Sudsie.

In basketball — in Detroit — when you ask, “Are there still tickets left?” they say, “Sure, the $10 seats or the $19 seats?”

In hockey — in Detroit — when you ask, “Are there still tickets left?” they say, “Sure, 2005 or 2006?”

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This