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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

Collison wanders darkened city

Ex-Jayhawk forward in New York with U.S. hoops contingent when blackout hit on Thursday

August 16, 2003

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— Former Kansas University basketball forward Nick Collison, the youngest member of the U.S. national team, is writing a diary for usabasketball.com as he practices in New York for the upcoming 10-team Olympic qualifying tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Here's Collison's report on what he was doing when the blackout hit New York on Thursday:

"I'm writing from a blacked-out New York City. I was walking around when the lights went out. I had gone out to eat and I was on my way back and one of the guys in the hotel told me that the power was out.

"I went upstairs and thought that it wasn't going to be as big of a deal as it was. Usually when the electricity goes out it's only out for a little while. But not this time.

"I went up to my room to take a nap and figured the power would be back when I woke up.

"But that didn't happen. It was still out so I went downstairs and sat outside on the curb with Vince Carter, watching the people go by.

"I went walking around a little bit. Everybody was just hanging out in the lobby. I hung out with Richard (Jefferson) a little bit, hung out with Mike Bibby and his boys a little bit.

"It was kind of fun because everybody was hanging out downstairs together. It was a little annoying too, having no power, but we made the best of it.

"When I went walking around, the streets were crazy. There was a sea of people everywhere you looked. The cars were bumper to bumper in massive gridlock and we saw some people who had been trapped in the subway climbing out of trap doors in the streets. It was crazy!

"I went down to Times Square with Richard and a couple other people to see what was happening. It was a little surreal to see Times Square in the dark. If you've ever seen the place, you'd know what I mean -- there are millions of lights in that area and it is always bright there at night.

"There were a lot of people down there, a lot of people trying to get home, a lot of people who were staying at the hotels down there who were hanging out and waiting for the lights to come back on.

"For the most part everyone was being calm and simply hanging out. That was a little surprising to me -- how people weren't freaking out or being violent or anything. This was an experience that when I look back at it, it might seem a cool thing to have experienced. But right now it doesn't seem that much fun.

"We got lucky though, the electricity came back on in our hotel around 5 this morning and our phones still aren't working in the hotel. Some of the people here still are without power and even others are without water, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

"My friend from home comes in today, I guess you could call him my 'posse.' I thought he might not make it because some of the airports were not fully operational yesterday. But he called and he's on his way in a cab. We were supposed to play a game tonight, but the Garden was still dark today and the game was postponed until Sunday. My friend's never been to New York so we'll probably spend the night walking around, getting something to eat, check out some of the sights. Go to Times Square, get the feel of the city."

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