Okay, it wasn’t actually the infamous smog of Mexico City creeping into the arena on Wednesday night – a faulty generator outside the building pumped smoke inside, causing an evacuation at around 7:30 PM. The Wolves and Spurs, set to play the first regular season game in Mexico since 1997, packed up and left the arena around an hour later, the game postponed to a later date.
It’s a strange and unfortunate event for the NBA, from a public relations perspective. Outgoing commissioner David Stern has made the international growth of the game a top priority throughout his tenure, and to have the first of this season’s two Global Games (the other is January 15th in London between the Hawks and Nets) smoked out (I’m terrible) must be a frustrating experience for all involved. Thankfully, there are no reports of injuries – but the fact that the Spurs and Wolves traveled all the way down to Mexico City, without the payoff of the game itself, must be a major disappointment for everyone who worked on the promotion and logistics of the event.
If there’s a silver lining in this, it’s that Minnesota will now get to face San Antonio on its home floor in the make-up game. Rick Adelman was vocal about his frustration that the Wolves had to sacrifice a home game, much less one against the defending conference champions, and now he will get to welcome San Antonio to Target Center. Perhaps that’s a callous way to look at things – plenty of fans in Mexico City were deprived of live, NBA action, which is disappointing – but in reality, this probably works in the Timberwolves’ favor.
And perhaps most tragically, you all were going to get such a good recap from me, complete with random Spanish phrases, sombreros photoshopped onto players heads during highlight reels, and a few misguided jokes pertaining to a relatively serious international security situation. But the game was cancelled, so we all miss out. The Wolves resume play on Saturday against the Miami… Heat.
And I’m going to stop this before I force a Heat-smoke joke that gets me fired.