Renaldo Balkman is playing for the Puerto Rico National Team while the NBA lockout keeps him away from his duties with the New York Knicks. Unfortunately Balkman was almost locked out of that job, too, after he and three teammates were unable to find their passports while traveling to Brazil to play in the Tuto Marchand Cup.
All was saved when a fellow by the name of Carlos Beltrán -- but not the Carlos Beltran, apparently -- convinced the Brazilian Embassy in Miami to look really hard for the documents.
"It was a terrible time," Beltrán told FIBA.com. "I asked them to double check because we were told in the mail the parcel was never sent to Puerto Rico."
The Embassy was able to find the passports in time for Balkman and teammates Daniel Santiago, Andrés Rodríguez and John Holland to arrive in Brazil Thursday night, opening the possibility of them playing this evening against the home team.
The Puerto Rican team might not need the reinforcements, however, because J.J. Barea has already led them to victories over Canada and the Dominican Republic this week. And, to be honest, Balkman and Co. might not be ready considering their practices away from the rest of the team were missing something pretty important in basketball.
"It was a good practice even if we didn't have any baskets due to electrical problems provoked by the Irene storm," assistant coach Carlos Morales told FIBA (emphasis mine).
Ah, the joys of summertime basketball, yeah?