January 05, 2012
Playing in Toronto presents a number of challenges to NBA teams. Everyone in the city is nicer, color is spelled differently, and basketball is roughly 25 times less popular than hockey. The biggest change, of course, is that Canada is a totally different country, so everyone has to carry their passports on trips. Otherwise, there's no way to get to Toronto, unless there's a particularly corrupt customs agent at the airport.
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Samardo Samuels fell victim to that last issue after losing his passport in early December. Without a new one, he was unable to play in Wednesday night's game against the Raptors. From Tom Reed for The Cleveland Plain Dealer (story via TBJ):
The reserve center did not accompany the club to Toronto for Wednesday's game against the Raptors because he was unable to get new travel documentation processed in time. He lost his Jamaican passport several weeks ago and he also had complications with his work visa.
Samuels, who informed Twitter followers in early December he had lost his passport, will rejoin the club Thursday in Minneapolis. The Cavaliers do not return to Canada until April 6, by which time club officials believe his international travel issues will be resolved.
"I'm going to chalk it up to youth and inexperience," [coach Byron] Scott said. "Hopefully he learned his lesson and it never happens again."
Reed goes on to list several other problems Samuels has had on the court this season. Nevertheless, I think it's a bit unfair of Scott to act as if losing a wallet and passport is tied to the same personal defect that has stopped Samuels from boxing out opponents in key moments. Sometimes people get personal belongings stolen or misplaced for no good reason. It's the way of the world.
Or, who knows, maybe Sameuls just hates Canada and pretended his passport was lost to avoid a road trip. He won't stand for their pronunciation of "about!"