Olympic Sports Olympic Sports

Left in the dark

U.S.-Puerto Rico game tabled by Eastern blackout

Posted: Friday August 15, 2003 1:17 PM
Updated: Friday August 15, 2003 7:10 PM

LeBron drops in on U.S.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Too hot upstairs, too dark outside. So Vince Carter walked into the lobby of his hotel, where a half-dozen of his Olympic teammates were chatting and playing cards.

Who should walk in at that very moment? None other than incoming NBA rookie LeBron James, the most hyped prep player in the history of basketball.

"I have no idea what he was doing there," Carter said, referring to James -- who has no connection with the U.S. team.

Everyone had a story to tell Friday about surviving the blackout of 2003, and the surprise appearance of James was only one of the
tales related by members of the U.S. men's basketball Olympic qualifying team.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. Olympic men's basketball team's exhibition game against Puerto Rico scheduled for Friday night was postponed until Sunday afternoon because of lingering blackout conditions at Madison Square Garden.

The game will be played at noon EDT, USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said.

The Garden was still without electricity at around noon Friday, and the subways in New York City were not yet running. More than 16,000 tickets were sold for the game, with many of the buyers coming from the city's large Puerto Rican community.

On Thursday night, the blackout that hit the Northeast forced the postponement of one major league baseball game -- the San Francisco Giants at the New York Mets -- WNBA games in New York and Cleveland, one minor league baseball game in Toledo, and a Canadian Football League in Toronto.

The United States basketball team, mostly NBA All-Stars, scrimmaged Puerto Rico on Thursday and was done for the day by the time the blackout hit in the afternoon.

Some of the players had trouble getting back to midtown Manhattan after playing golf, while others spent time Thursday night milling about their hotel lobby and playing cards with other guests, Miller said.

The players were able to gain access to their rooms with key cards powered by a backup generator, but there was no air conditioning or lighting. Power was restored at the hotel at about 4:30 a.m.

The U.S. team still plans to leave Monday for San Juan, where it will begin play in the 10-team Olympic qualifying tournament Aug. 20 against Brazil.

The top three teams in that tournament will earn berths in the 2004 Athens Games.

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