Aug. 19, 1999
By Justin Mott
It is great being over here. The whole trip is a tremendous
experience for us both as basketball players and people. It is something
that all our us will remember for a long, long time.
Our first day started with a morning practice back in Tallahassee
prior to departing. There was an anxious feeling among the players during
practice. We were very eager to finish practice and begin our journey.
Pracitce took a while but when it ended, we were on our way.
The first leg had us on the bus, heading for the Tallahassee
Regional Airport. On the way, we were able to get our last views of home.
Everybody was really excited to get going and start our trip.
When we got to the airport, we did the usual — get off the bus,
show ID’s, walk to the gate and sit and wait for the flight. While I was
waiting, I took the time to make a phone call to say goodbye to someone
special. Then it was our Tallahassee to Atlanta flight.
I remember well from our regular season trips the usual problems we
have on flights – NO LEG ROOM. But it was a quick flight so it wasn’t
Whe we got to Atlanta, we had a three-hour layover. It isn’t that
bad in Atlanta because that airport has plenty to do in it. Most of the
guys just hung out and ate. Some of the guys from the area – Emanuel
(Mathis) and Antwaun (Dixon) – had family come visit them. The layover
wasn’t that bad but we were all felling uneasy by this point because we
knew what was ahead of us — two looonnnggg flights.
The third leg of our journey was our flight to Los Angeles. I
really don’t remember much of it because I slept through most of it. I did
watch part of the movie that was shown, “Entrapment”. I then fell asleep,
only to be awakened by the pranks of some teammates. Everyone had loosened
up on this leg of the trip. We soon landed in LA and made our way to the
While in Los Angeles, I had some close friends come see me during
our layover, so it went pretty quick even though it was three hours. Soon
enough we hopped on another flight and were on our way to Sydney, Australia.
Leg four was 14 1/2 hours of flying. Fourtunately, I was able to
sleep about 11 hours during the flight. I was lucky because I had a whole
row of seats that were open in my aisle. That allowed me to lie down and
sleep. Some guys had to sit up most of the time and not all of them were
able to sleep. Obviously, the flight was long and when you are 6’10”,
there is never enough room on a plane. It was pretty uncomfortable but it
ended soon and when it did we were in Australia. For a lot of the guys, it
was the first time they had been outside of the U.S. Everything is so new
and extremely different.