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|| News Item: Posted 1999-08-30

Olympic Dreaming in Puerto Rico
By Garrett Ellwood, NBA Photos

The best thing about the Tournament of the Americas in Puerto Rico was not the basketball that was played, it was the people. (The tournament, featuring teams from North and South America, determined what countries from this region qualifies for 2000 Olympics in Sydney.)

Photo by
Watching the Dream Team pound teams like Panama night after night grow old, but the people certainly didn't. (The U.S. was included the likes of NBA's Gary Payton, Kevin Garnett, Tim Hardaway and Tim Duncan.)

From the local media to the security guards, we received nothing but gracious hospitality. I can't remember how many people asked me how I was enjoying my stay in Puerto Rico.

Where else can you get a pina colada courtside anyway?

Puerto Rico enjoys the best of both worlds. Not being a state, rules and laws are a little different in Puerto Rico. For instance: after midnight no one felt the need to stop at red lights and in car coolers seem to be the norm.

There were four holidays in the month of July. None of which I understood, but they all seemed like a good reason to party. And party they do, whenever the home team played, Roberto Clemente Stadium turned into Mardi Gras.

From salsa bands in the crowd to female fans willing to disrobe in the stands, it definitely was not at the Delta Center ... David Stern are you listening?

Another nice surprise was the amount of female photographers at each game. At least half of the photographers were female. One in particular was generous enough to present us with bottles of Bacardi as bon voyage gifts on our last day.

All in all it was a great way to spend a couple weeks, maybe the Clippers could move to San Juan!

(Garrett Ellwood is currently based in Southern California.)

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