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The women’s basketball game at Eastern Washington University on March 8 started out like any other, as the Eagles of E.W.U. faced off against the Montana State Bobcats.
Davin Perry, dressed as the singer Rick Astley, broke into a basketball game with an Astley hit from 1987.

But a routine timeout turned into a 1980s flashback, as two men on the sidelines briefly hijacked the proceedings with a popular prank known as rickrolling. They surprised the crowd by blasting the British singer Rick Astley’s 1987 hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up” through the gym, while one, dressed as a look-alike in Mr. Astley’s signature trench coat, lip-synched and mugged to the music.

The stunt provoked a variety of reactions. Many older spectators looked, by turns, puzzled or irritated. But the under-30 fans danced and sang, happy to participate in a rapidly spreading phenomenon with roots in their favorite medium — the Internet.

Rickrolling is a descendant of an older Internet joke called duckrolling. A Web site or blog post would offer a link to something popular — say celebrity photos or video gaming news — that led unsuspecting viewers to a bizarre image of a duck on wheels.

Check it out here.

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