Mexico City, Mexico
By Edgard Garrido
I was to photograph an extraordinary basketball game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs as part of the NBA Global Games schedule for the 2013-14 season.
The day before, the players met with children from the indigenous Triquis tribe and played a game barefoot in the tradition of the young Triquis’ team. It was a fantastic moment and I have no doubt that the journalists and everyone present, enjoyed it as much as the young Triqui players. It was a delightful opening to a grand game to be played the next day.
On game day everything looked perfect. A temporary court had been set up; benches, bleachers, baskets and scoreboards were in place. A press room for 200 accredited journalists had been prepared with high quality wi-fi and hundreds of ethernet terminals. There was a plan with our designated positions courtside and in the bleachers marked with stickers pinned to the floor. There were chairs and tables exclusively for the press, plenty of printed information on the players and the teams, signalized access to all points, antennas, remote cameras and cables, cables and more cables. Everything was impeccably set up for us to enjoy the occasion, an event worth millions, where people had paid between 160 to 5600 Pesos ($12 to $430) to watch elite players compete or at least catch a glimpse of the beautiful cheerleaders jump and fly through the air.
It was 7.20pm, the public had not entered the compound yet but I was already standing courtside. I got my position through an NBA draw and it couldn’t have been better. My spot was next to the bench of the Minnesota Timberwolves and at a 45 degree angle from the basket.
We were all waiting when we suddenly heard a noise, like something heavy was falling and the lights started to go off. A colleague and I saw smoke coming through one of the tunnels leading to the court and we started taking pictures.