It has taken place at thousands of basketball games in Jim Boylen's long career as a player and coach.
Moments before a game begins, the two teams line up on the court for the traditional playing of the national anthem. Often, it's not overly memorable. That won't be the case on Monday. Boylen and a group of USA Basketball players and coaches will hear "The Star-Spangled Banner," on Independence Day, in Havana — a place where few Americans have been and a place where the U.S. anthem is likely not often heard.
“I’ve never done something like this,” Boylen said. “And that’s what we’ve told these guys. This group of guys, they chose to play these two games, on the road, in what I call enemy territory. And they decided to spend the Fourth of July, in Havana, when they didn’t have to do this.”
Relations between the U.S. and Cuba have been strained for decades, although in recent months, President Joe Biden’s administration has announced plans to ease at least some of the tough economic sanctions that have been imposed on the island nation, the Associated Press.