Today was the first day for Team USA to practice in Beijing after several exhibitions in Macau. Watching the reaction by Beijing residents to the team's arrival reminded me of the videos of the Beatles arriving on U.S. soil decades ago, young girls swooning at the sight of the Fab Four.
I arrived at Beijing Normal University today at the same time as the "Redeem Team." It was interesting to watch the crowd. A small gathering was waiting around the gate of the University as the bus turned in to the gate. Now, there was no stop by the bus, and in fact, barely even slowed down as it turned. But there were two young Chinese girls positioned outside the gate, and they apparently were able to catch a glimpse of Lebron James at the window of the bus. They began jumping up and down, screaming and hugging each other. All at a glimpse of Lebron James through a moving bus window. Maybe China won't have such a home court advantage when they take on the U.S. on Sunday night.
Practice was extremely relaxed today, although I have nothing to compare it to when it comes to USA basketball. Basically, they opened the door to the gym, where the American team was waiting for practice to begin, and we could go and talk with whomever we wanted. No restrictions, no questions asked. Very easy. I had the chance to sit down and talk with Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, and Coach K. Sure, it was difficult to do as I was jumping up and down and screaming much like the Chinese girls, but I muddled through the interviews.
One day until the opening ceremonies. Huge day for China and for the Chinese people. Can they pull it off? 24 hours from now we will know!