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I'm Shereen Marisol Merici. I'm Gene Demby and this is Code Switch from NPR. So Shereen, I hear you have a story for me.

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I have so many stories for you all the time. But this is a particularly important story in my life.

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They always are important that they don't say, yeah, this is OK.

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Well, true. But this one is like one of the most important. It was this Sunday in 2004, and I was visiting my Twitter and my uncle Ralph, we were like Ovalau, everything.

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But no, I wasn't.

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It was hot. I was definitely wearing a tank top and probably some shorts. I mean, cookie cutter suburbia, you know, not that many trees, lots of concrete just outside of Los Angeles. Right.

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And I had just recently moved here to L.A. and was trying to reconnect with members of my family who lived in Southern California, my Puerto Rican side, just in case I make that clear. My Uncle Ralph grew up in Vieques and my dad was a New York Rican all the way. Had that thick New York accent, which I absolutely love, is one of the best accents.

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And oh, yes, it's such a throwback and I love it so much.

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And Jeanne, an important part of the story is that there was a basketball game on TV, OK, and the United States was playing Puerto Rico in the Summer Olympics.

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I remember this game very, very clearly. This game.

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OK, ok, OK. I remember three things about the game. No. One, the point guard was.

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Really cute. It's so, so very invested in watching the game.

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I mean, there are very there are there are a number of things they can get me invested in watching the game, but that was one of them.

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Number two, the second thing I remember about that game is that my Twitter was always trying to start shit and she started this ridiculous debate over who we should be rooting for, whether we should be cheering for the U.S. or Puerto Rico, which is ridiculous because this was a house full of Puerto Ricans.

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So isn't it obvious? But my idea was like, you guys aren't even Puerto Rican. You never lived in Puerto Rico. You're American. You can barely speak Spanish.

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And we were like Woodsey. Come on.

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We should. We should. But we should talk about we can just pause and acknowledge how like the arrangement by which Puerto Rico is part of United States but has a separate Olympic situation happening just to just acknowledge that that's strange.

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Yes, let us acknowledge that. Because it is. And so, yeah, so yeah, we were just like, no, obviously we're rooting for Puerto Rico and you have to remind everybody, like, who was on that U.S. basketball team? LeBron James on the team.

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Very young LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Allen Iverson. I mean, it was really represent always, always shout out the bubbles.

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OK, but that team was ridiculous, which is a very important context for what I imagine the rest of the story is going to be about. Who are you rooting for?

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Oh, I mean, come on.

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I was I mean, is that even though I know you are rooting for Allen Iverson, of course, always.

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I mean, the only time I feel any sort of patriotic fervor is like in international competition. I see like basketball. Come on, man. Have you watching that game? We have been opposite as long as we are on opposite sides.

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I had no idea. All right. OK. All right, Jim, we need to stop here because actually I'm not the one telling this whole story. I'm going to get some help from the Labriola podcast, which is hosted by Alina Cassanova Burgess. OK, and she's got the rest of the story.

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In the summer of 1979, journalist Julio Ricardo Varela was 10 years old and he was spending the summer with his dad in Rio, Beatrice in San Juan. And it was the same year that the 1979 Pan American Games were happening and were being hosted in Puerto Rico. It felt like it was our little mini Olympics.

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When they go for the opening ceremony, they commissioned this big Hollywood style musical number, and it was so exciting because here they were, here all these athletes.

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And when you're 10 and you're a sports freak like I am, that's all you were thinking about. I mean, I was obsessed with it.

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I loved it. Especially he loved the Puerto Rican national basketball team, less election Nasional, it was just like it was like watching your heroes and here were your heroes ready to represent your homeland in basketball.

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Coolio was born in Puerto Rico and grew up there, but when he was in first grade, he moved with his mom to the Bronx and would go back and forth to the island over the years. But he never had any doubt as to who his team was. It was always Puerto Rico. And in 1979, at the Pan American Games, it was easy to root for Puerto Rico.

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I thought, OK, I got blown up by a company called. Because they were kicking butt, the other top team was the United States, but midway into the tournament, the U.S. squad got into a scandal. The scandal surrounding their coach, the infamously hot tempered Bobby Knight, known for his outrageous outbursts and angry locker room speeches like this, one day you will wonder why.

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The next day, one day during the Pan Am games, Bobby Knight got into a scuffle with a Puerto Rican policeman during which he allegedly hit the officer. According to the officer, Knight also called him the N-word. He was arrested and charges were pressed. It was all over the news. And it just so happens that Puerto Rico and the United States were set to face off in the final battle.

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But I'm old enough to know that it was a hard fought close game. But the U.S. side, led by a young Isiah Thomas, ultimately won and took home the gold after the game.

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Bobby Knight told the press that the only thing Puerto Ricans were good at was, quote, growing bananas.

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And there was something else as they were leaving Puerto Rico. This is you know, this is what is reported.

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I feel like you're going to tell me that he spat in some mofongo or something. You know, he dropped his pants and he moon Puerto Rico. He put his, you know, put his ass against the window. No. And he mooned Puerto Rico as they flew off.

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Like the ugly American. Here you go again, thinking you're better than us.

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Julio remembers the incident was the only thing the grown ups around him could talk about for weeks, especially night.

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Get Ben Nelson wrong a week dominicano Martorell and Donoso throw that frickin asshole the way he mistreated us.

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So throughout this history right to me.

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It's always about beating the Americans. And luckily for Puerto Rico, there have been there have been chances to take revenge. From WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios, I'm Alana Casanovva Burgess, and this is Labrada.

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In this episode, David and Goliath play basketball in Athens, Apple.

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Without a doubt, there is a deep connection between being Puerto Rican and rooting for our sports teams and yes, people all over the world love sports and are proud of their athletes.

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But in Puerto Rico, the stakes are just higher because Puerto Rico, despite being a U.S. colony, competes in international sporting events like the Olympics on its own, under its own flag, as if we were an independent country.

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Journalist Noel Algren, who has covered sports in Puerto Rico for many years, put it this way.

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The only place where we can call ourselves sovereign is in sports. In sports, we get this opportunity to be Puerto Rico, the country from the Caribbean. We get to be someone and then we get chances in a more symbolic way to face the country that owns you in some way.

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Today, we're going to tell a story about one of those chances you could say a chance for revenge against Bobby Knight, a time when Puerto Rico faced off against the United States in basketball on the sporting world's largest stage. Julio Ricardo Varela, a journalist with Futuro Media, takes the story from here. So at the time I was watching the 1979 game on TV, this guy was actually watching courtside, but I have a lot of mail this.

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It I am I only Mikasa in, although I in Puerto Rico, Floyd Melendez was the coach of the team that year and he was a legend in Puerto Rico. We look at that in a documentary about the 1979 games, you can see him screaming at players and gesturing wildly. He's looking really sharp with this thick black mustache and fro. Michael Flood went on to become one of the national team's all time most decorated coaches, and his story kind of runs parallel to the story of Puerto Rican basketball.

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So Flood grew up in a big family on Simoneau, the oldest of 11 siblings.

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They lived in public housing, Casati or Booligal. We're talking 1960, Florida started playing basketball at his local YMCA. Then as a teenager, he played in the Puerto Rican League. And pretty early on, Floyd figured he had a talent for coaching.

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He described his coaching style as 40 tough yourself, no discipline, a discipline, heavy and flawed, cut into coaching right around this kind of magic moment for Puerto Rican basketball coaches like Florida and league officials.

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They started visiting New York City and scouring the courts where Nuyoricans were playing street ball. And they started convincing these players to leave their lives behind to come play professionally in Puerto Rico.

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Here are these amazing Afro Puerto Ricans who learn the craft in the Mecca of the sport brought it back.

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I want to say I Raymondi malcontent. FA la la la la la la la la la la la la.

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Well, not to.

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Well, Marape oh, no, no, darling, I had no idea it was a different kind of basketball and people were used to in Puerto Rico, it was a faster rhythm, a play with big dunks, and it was fun. Like that type of basketball is fun.

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Livewell boom. These were the boom years for Puerto Rican basketball and.

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Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go.

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And as a team kept winning and becoming better, basketball in Puerto Rico became the sport fans filled the stadiums.

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The whole of the grand, I think is compounded by this, by the way, is a promotional rap song recorded by the team in 1986, not political.

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By the 90s, many from that generation of great NERIKA players had retired, but they had inspired a new wave of Puerto Rican ballplayers and those players, they took the team to even greater heights when they think the first thing they believe they can build Panamerican on their own.

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And it's those investments, fellows. Panamerican. Gold in the 1991 Pan American Games, gold in the 1993 Central American Games, and maybe the biggest accomplishment of all, fourth place in the 1990 world championships, Puerto Rico, the fourth best team in the world, that's pretty good. With Puerto Rico having made a name for itself on the international stage floor, Melendez got opportunities to coach in Argentina and Panama. But it was always clear to him that coaching the Puerto Rican national team, that was a different kind of responsibility.

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You're taking on the joke. He has this saying, la, la, la, la, la, don't fit to hell Almanzora.

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Not that I'm more hesitant than I was, but I thought I had a lot of trouble, he said. And only for Messi.

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He thinks about it like this. Puerto Rico doesn't have an army. So we, the national basketball team, we are the ones that have to represent the country. He says that the basketball is a weapon and the basketball jersey is actually a soldier's uniform. And it's this it's this reverence, right, you it's like you respect it, like you respect a flag.

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He told me he had this ritual he would do with the national team that at the season's first practice, where they would put on their national team jerseys for the first time with your urine through own being the Puerto Rico, and then he'd go down the line and hand out little Puerto Rican flag pins to all the players all along.

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Jojo Lolo, how much? You know, I'm not sure whether he says the players would get so emotional about it. And whenever they face the United States in international play, those games had a special kind of wait. It was the chance for his soldiers to go to war.

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And I had la la la la la la la la la la la la la la. By depending on the war, we haven't been able to have to win our independence, he says.

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Puerto Rico is generally pretty outgunned in this war, the U.S., after all, was it is the global superpower of basketball, especially after the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. What happened was a few years before the International Basketball Federation made a change to their rules to allow NBA players in international competitions. And that change was huge.

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This summer, the U.S. Olympic basketball team will make history. The dream team of Jordan Bird, Joey Robinson, Drechsler Mullock, Barkley Magic.

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That first dream team that went to Barcelona in 1992 was legendary.

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Selection of superstars been unselfishly by FIFA, said it wasn't just a sports team, it was a cultural phenomenon.

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You've got yourself the gold medal meal. What you want to get at McDonald's, the gold medal today.

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And they kicked everybody's ass. It wasn't even close. It wasn't even fun to watch.

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They were that good. And there it is. And the dream team. And from then on, the players change, but the dream team was here to stay. The U.S. won gold again in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics.

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The United States has won the gold. In 2000 at the Sydney Olympics.

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Same story, and it's all smiles now from Dream Team four and then you get to the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the U.S. team was an institution at that point. And the first game they were going to play that Olympics was with Puerto Rico.

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The 2004 team was stacked, Allen Iverson, Ehi, Dwayne Wade, D Wade, Tim Duncan, one of my favorite players of all time. I mean, the team even had LeBron James in his early days. LeBron James, the US had the best basketball teams in the world when they were using amateur players. But when the NBA showed up, these guys were invincible in the Olympics. I mean that literally, since NBA players were allowed to play, they had never lost an Olympic game.

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They were the Death Star. And if the US team was the Death Star, the Puerto Rico team was definitely the ragtag rebel alliance. The players were mostly local stars from the Boston Sesto Supérieure National the League in Puerto Rico. You had all these also known as beaconing.

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Some people say, oh, that's Del, either the Ruka, the legend that Tullius has a daughter.

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He's the filmmaker behind a great Puerto Rican basketball documentary called Nuyorican Baskett. You had Eddie Cassiano and the man, and he was the firecracker. He will go toe to toe with you. He had to fight. He will fight.

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McGrady and Capilano going, No, no. Roland Martin said he was all about the Krass, very disciplined and a great defender and a lot of other really talented guys, Larry. I do. So Bobby Julatten. And then there was Carlos doing. Canizaro was the young gun.

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I know you're very funny that he met a guy that I looked anxious to prove himself with a lot of talent as a royal knocks down that jumper.

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Carlos was in the NBA. He was a starting point guard with the Utah Jazz that season and was on a path to becoming a legend.

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Arroyo to the right gets behind drag, dragging him back in momentarily Niu's goes right to the hoop Reverse to the right side Break it up on account of his foul at six two.

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He was a lot shorter than most other NBA guys but Carlos was fast and he played with energy and he played with heart and we all love them.

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So a few weeks before the Olympics, the Puerto Rican team goes to Florida for a week of practice and a series of warm up games against the U.S. team. This is strangely standard practice leading up to these big international competitions. And it was an opportunity to get to know the enemy. And at these games, they're playing man to man defense, which is what it sounds like. Each player follows a player on the other team and sticks to them and Puerto Rico because of their size or lack of it.

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You know, the Americans are bigger. They were faster.

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They wanted to play zone defense where you literally stay in a zone and you defend a set area of the court. During one of those games, the American coach went up to the Puerto Rican coaches and asked for a favor. Kaposvar.

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Work and a whole lot. I'm on the phone. I don't know what I'm on, but I'm looking to get on there.

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You're not Domina simply he said, can you please not play zone during this game? And it was one of those like Floor Melendez moments to be like insert mysterious discovery music thing.

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Interesting.

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They don't want to play against his own, but I'm on.

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He says they kept quiet and pulled a classic KRO move then who are able to regain a little bit and come get him out of the way by little up.

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He says whenever city people visit the mountains, they think that he of the country people are simpleton's.

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We're simple here. Then I'll go Wallal.

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But secretly they always have something up their sleeve. We'll be right back. This is Labrada. This message comes from NPR sponsor, Just a start, your tradition with just egg use, just egg in your favorite omelet, scramble frittata or French toast. It's like the eggs you're used to, but made from plants. Just egg is protein packed, but with less saturated fat and no cholesterol. It's a great, healthy way to eat more plant based without sacrificing taste.

[00:22:24]

You can find just egg pretty much anywhere at most grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Kroger. And on Amazon Prime now or in Stuckart. This message comes from NPR sponsor Transfer Wise, a new way to send, spend and receive money internationally. With transfer wise, you can save more and worry less. You always get the real mid-market exchange rate when you send money to 80 countries and 50 percent of transfers arrive within one hour. Transfer Wise also has a multi-currency account that lets you hold and convert up to 54 currencies, join over nine million customers and try transfer wise for free at transfer Wired.com.

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NPR The news is about more than what just happened.

[00:23:10]

You need to know why it happened, who made it happen, how it's felt in the communities you care about. NPR's daily news podcast Consider this gives you all of that with context, back story and analysis on a single topic every weekday. It's not just information, it's what the news means. Consider this from NPR. We're back, this is Lavada, it's the summer of 2004 and the Puerto Rican national basketball team arrives in Athens to compete in the Olympics.

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Their first rival is the United States dream team, who, by the way, aren't staying at the Olympic Village with the rest of the delegations, but in a luxury cruise ship in Athens Harbor. Julio Ricardo Varela picks the story back up. On the morning of the game in Athens, the Puerto Rican team is expecting the worst. Fernando Ordinated was in his dorm room in the Olympic Village when one of the coaches on the staff who barged in the room early in the morning, it comes in.

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He's on his, you know, jockey underwear. So whatever it was, no shirt, no nothing, just barefoot. It's like, hey, hey, you guys, what's going on? The ice too early. So I want you guys to know that we're going to do something different today. So what are you talking about? It's like, well, you have to wait and see. A few hours later, the players are gathered in the locker room and the coaches bust out their plan, they thought maybe they had found the weakness in the Death Star.

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They're going to do a variation on the Zone defense that the Americans didn't want to play against. Back in Florida, for all you basketball nerds out there, a variation known as a triangle and two defense with the goal of forcing the U.S. team to take outside shots.

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So we looked at each other like, hey, you know, never done it. We lose by 30 every time, so might as well try it.

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The game was set to start at eight p.m. Athens time, 1:00 p.m. in Puerto Rico. I remember I was at my home in the Boston area that day watching the game in my bedroom all by myself, all alone. I had a Puerto Rico shirt. I do remember that my old Puerto Rico T-shirt. And I had really low expectations, to be honest, to jog my memory for this story. I recently read Watch the game.

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I'm excited. This is the first time I've put this on since 2004. You can see in the broadcast that the arena in Athens was pretty full, everybody wanted to see the debut of the U.S. team before they started playing. Both teams lined up for a group picture. Every single photographer turned to photograph the U.S. team and the Puerto Rican team. They just stood there. The whistle blows the start of the game, it was pretty tight back and forth, a lot of states leaving early bye to Puerto Rico didn't really start off strong.

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They just played enough to to keep it close to an impressive start for Puerto Rico. I was like, OK, all right, how long is this going to last? This will be entertaining until the U.S. scores like 80 points in a row and then we're down by 60. There's the buzzer and the first quarter. But for me, things really kicked off in the second quarter when Carlos Arcoleo found giggling with a super cool pass.

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Here comes here comes. Look at this pass. Hello. Hello, Carlos. Oh, what a ball fake. And then it begins. Something just clicks. And Puerto Rico has the sequence of amazing plays. Little by little in the broadcast, you start to notice that most of the people in the arena were rooting for Puerto Rico, and how could you not root for Carlos Rojo that day? He had these super flashy passes.

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He was making incredible shots, just dominating the court ball, hailing from Carlos Arroyo, bodies flying all over the place.

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A with the steal down at the bottom of the floor.

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Watch Puerto Rico nail shot after shot.

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Looking at you and I want to go more full throttle.

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He says he noticed the U.S. players in a bad mood, frustrated, and it was probably because the Puerto Rican strategy seemed to be working. Here's Rolando Urbina.

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You know, we were pretty physical and we were really giving it to them, you know, and then is something that they were not used to it. And it was our turn to talk trash. Go ahead. Sure you don't want to shoot it, right? Go ahead. Shoot it. Let me see it.

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Let me see your shot right at the second quarter ticked down. Puerto Rico's lead just kept growing.

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It's hard to believe I'm saying this, but the United States trails by 20 and there's a puzzle in the first half, a disastrous first half for the United States. At halftime, the score was forty nine to twenty seven, twenty two point lead for Puerto Rico and you could see it on the faces of the American coaches. They looked so dejected. Meanwhile, at 1:00 p.m. in Puerto Rico, Martinez, then a sports editor at and where will he was getting ready to turn on the game when his wife asked him to go to the mall with her to pick something up.

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MEBAZAA Gatica, you put Omaha, I'll go lassalle America in.

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But he reluctantly eram, goes to the mall and finds a store window with the televisions turned to the game.

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Gilmor Young, she in Arizona has handled only about one hundred people were crowded around doing the same thing.

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And to it I'm surprised Puerto Rico's doing pretty well in the first minutes. But he thinks, who cares, Jose?

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He went up little to no bank bailout.

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They're just going to come back and slam us. So he heads back home in the car. When he gets a call from his daughter, he'll be sure to be in the room. Are you watching the game? Yes.

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You know, I think they are alone in the world.

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And he said we're going to handle it. Was like, no, why bother? And she says, we're winning. Sunni Dom is getting frantic calls from the newspaper and he said, I do talk with Dungannon and look those when you know they're being, where are you?

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Get over here. We're beating the U.S. and we're beating them.

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Good, you know? No way said. Even the Puerto Rican players in the locker room at halftime were surprised at the score. Here's Rolando.

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First of all, my first thought was, are we really beating this team by 19? That was my first thought, right. Go walk into the locker room. And second was like, wow, I have more pressure now than I did at the beginning of the game because this is a brand new game, 20 brand new minutes. And, you know, they're going to come back stronger.

[00:30:32]

You thought the Americans were going to make a run eventually and come back and beat us. They had to. The third quarter is also really back and forth, the U.S. makes points to drive to the basket. Pretty move from Allen Iverson, but Puerto Rico maintains its lead royal inside in the lead back up to 21 one. The quarter closes 65 48. Puerto Rico's still leading by 17 points. And then the fourth quarter starts, and that's when things get scary.

[00:31:07]

It starts with about nine minutes left on the clock. Puerto Rico's up by 15 and LeBron James James wide open hits the three, LeBron James from downtown and it's a 12 point game. It was the first three for the United States in a long time, and then they just keep making baskets. Lamar Odom cuts the lead to 12. Iverson for three. Boy, that's a huge bucket as we go into the five minute mark. On the court, Rolando watched as Puerto Rico's hard fought lead disappeared from twenty two at halftime to just eight points.

[00:31:52]

Now we'll look up at the clock. I'm lying to me. Don't hurry up and finish right now. I just want to end this game.

[00:32:01]

Suddenly, it looked like the US could turn the tide in the final minutes. But then. Here, baby, right here, Carlos Khalifa's fight for the rebound here comes along, Arroyo draws the foul and one is awesome. Afie 11. But the RICO answers the charge suddenly, only one minute remains with the recall is back to leading by 20 and it's clear the U.S. has run out of time to catch up. I usually hear Jackie, Jacqui, Galam, no, no, don't put it back in San Juan at the offices of anywhere Rhodia.

[00:32:49]

At that very moment, Deran finally exhaled. With victory near, the coach takes Carlos hydrogel out of the game, Carlos Arroyo, the game of his life.

[00:33:03]

Twenty four points as he comes out, as he walks off the court, cocky as all hell, he looks at the stands and grabs his jersey and pulls forward the part where it says Puerto Rico, as if to show everybody watching the name of the place he's from. Oh, that was awesome when he did that. In part, it was a gesture of defiance to a U.S. player who had fouled him a few moments ago, but to many in the audience, watching the message was way bigger than that.

[00:33:46]

Come on.

[00:33:46]

There's a lot of people, Flirt says, that it was like Carlos was telling the Americans with a look where the powerful ones. Yampa somewhere outside. No, I don't go I lagrima he does awake, all my girls are in the newsroom.

[00:34:13]

In San Juan, people started hugging each other.

[00:34:16]

Tears were falling to tackle more Komachi from they don't know what. Go out over to our.

[00:34:24]

Iran was so shaken up with joy that he says he felt like a brand new journalist at a loss for how to do his job. The final score, 92 to 73. It's finally happened. The United States loses an Olympic plane with NBA players. They showed some signs in the second half, but dug themselves too big a hole. And an experienced team led by a brilliant performance from Carlos Arroyo put the game away. On the court in Athens, Rolando remembers that final moment is having this dream like out of body quality.

[00:35:04]

You come off the court celebrating by the same time, you're not still believing what happened and then you're being interviewed in Italian by the Italian press. Is a lot of things happening at the same time that you are you know, you were consumed by all this and you don't even know how to react. You are kind of numb.

[00:35:29]

Back at the offices of Illinois, Willia, everyone was buzzing to get the paper ready for the morning, they had already decided on the cover when Edom saw a photo come in that instantly caught his eye. It's a colossal carajo from that moment. He walked off the court showing off his Puerto Rico jersey. It was this quick moment on the court. If you blinked, you could have missed it. But here, captured by the camera, there's something special about that image.

[00:35:58]

And he says. This is the photo, the subway on the U.S. embassy atomization, I'm going into you. No, no, no, no, no, no. Eight, I love photo a photo album. I thought Orlando in a single scene going into seeing.

[00:36:13]

I knew the layout designer was like, no way. We already have the cover. But it was like, this is the photo. This is the photo we're going to be talking about 50, 100 years from now. This needs to be the cover, the limo.

[00:36:27]

They said we're going to photograph the new line inthe. All night long, the island celebrates the win. The next morning, the team wakes up and heads mostly together to the cafeteria for breakfast and as they walk through the Olympic Village and I'm assuming all the delegations of athletes from around the world were there, people don't get emotional the time.

[00:36:55]

And as they walked into the cafeteria policy on a futile effort to require people to blow your mind their holiday. And I thought the total a bite out of there that most people probably don't like.

[00:37:14]

Lord says you'd think it was a Puerto Rican party, everybody from the Germans, the Iraqis, all of them stood up, stopped eating and clapped for Puerto Rico. He is oh, no, no, no, no, no. But he says it's something one never imagined could happen. They were getting a standing ovation from the world.

[00:37:51]

I mean, so the things you said you remember most about that game were, you know, Carlos Arroyo was really cute. Yes, you're with your family, you put your family, and there was this whole, you know, back and forth, very heated back and forth over who you should be rooting for. And I'm assuming three is that against all the odds, against I mean, they were like all the underdogs, they should have got blown up by 30.

[00:38:17]

Puerto Rico won.

[00:38:20]

And they didn't just win by, like, two very stumps.

[00:38:23]

They stunk just like your boy Allen Iverson to that to the point where, like, U.S. basketball had to do some soul searching, like they are like we are. They literally we organized the entire U.S. basketball operation because of this loss. Like that was how bad it was. Like it was humiliation.

[00:38:42]

Oh, my God, everybody in it. And Uncle Ralph's house was happy, elated.

[00:38:47]

Oh, even the people who were rooting for us, nobody was really just mean for the United States.

[00:38:52]

Come on. The U.S. did not beat us on August 15th, 2004. And it is a day that I will never forget. It was actually the last time I saw my dad died and my uncle Ralph alive not to bring it down, but yeah, it was the last time I saw them alive. It was an amazing game.

[00:39:12]

It was an amazing memory, really, really special for me. And I know so many Puerto Ricans have their own memories of that when where they were in their lives, what was going on, what it meant to them, whether you were born and raised in Puerto Rico, whether you can speak perfect Spanish or not, you know, whether you grew up stateside with a Puerto Rican mom and dare I say it, and Iranian dad, because that's how I have to end every episode.

[00:39:42]

I just think that's that you smile.

[00:39:44]

You I saw that is also big thanks to the LA Brigg podcast hosted by Alana Cassanova, Burgess and Julio Ricardo Varela, who report on that episode. He co-hosts the podcast In the Thick.

[00:40:00]

Julio Ricardo Varela showing off. We are back next week with Morcos, which I'm Jindalee. I'm Shereen Marisol Merici Bezier piece, and here's Alina with the rest of the credits. Briga is a co-production of WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios. This episode was produced by Marlon Bishop, Ezekiel Rodriguez Endino and Mark Bugan.

[00:40:24]

The story was edited by Luis Reyes, fact checking by Gabriel Avila. Aponte Engineering is by Stephanie LaBeau. Original music for Labrada was composed by Balloon and our theme song is by Iffier Art, for this piece was done by Meagan Leadership Support for Love. Ariga is provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support provided by Amy List's special thanks to Mariga Baban Neul Al Green and to Sartoris, who made a great documentary about basketball in Puerto Rico called Nerika and Basket.

[00:41:00]

And you should seriously go see it. Oh, and Pouliot has one last part of the story to tell you.

[00:41:07]

There's another happy ending for this story.

[00:41:09]

For Rolando, routine in Athens changed his life in more ways than one. He met his wife in Athens and she did synchronized swimming for Puerto Rico. He met her on his way to the cafeteria the morning after the game.

[00:41:23]

I came with more than what I thought I was going to come back with. Right question.

[00:41:28]

Do you think you winning, beating the United States kind of added, you know, it's like high school in the cafeteria. You're like, oh, my God, he's all right now.

[00:41:37]

I don't think so. I don't think so, because I really had to battle. Right. I really had to to bring my my a game.

[00:41:53]

And coming up next, episode, the people standing on the long line of Puerto Rico's debt and their struggle to collect what the government owes them Proxima. In recent mass shootings, people have been targeted for who they are, who they worship, but on June 28, twenty people were targeted for the job they do at a newspaper. Listen to the new series from NPR's Embedded about the survivors at the Capital Gazette.

[00:42:29]

Support for NPR and the following message come from TIAA committed to the idea that while most things in life run out from clean shirts in the morning to a favorite dessert at night, lifetime income in retirement shouldn't learn more at TIAA Dagget. Never run out.