Old-school NBA heads know the tales of rival teams pulling hotel fire alarms or cranking up the heat in the practice facility or possibly, maybe, allegedly giving the greatest player in the world food poisoning to mess with their visiting opponents.
But a tornado warning? That’s next level.
It happened to the Portland Trail Blazers this morning. According to the organization’s official Twitter account, the team, which is in Atlanta to face the Hawks tonight, was briefly evacuated to the basement parking garage of their hotel after receiving warnings that a tornado might be touching down in the area.
According to a Blazers spokesperson, the team had arrived at the hotel at 1:30 am, following its game in Boston the night before. The emergency alert hit their phones around 10:40 am. Soon after, hotel guests were told via speakers to retreat to the lower-level parking garage and shelter in place. After 20 minutes of milling around, guests were allowed to return to their rooms.
The Atlanta metro area remains under a tornado watch until 4 pm Eastern today.
In terms of both distress and hilarity, the experience can’t quite match the Great Elevator Breakdown of 2019. How it will affect the team’s play remains to be seen—the Blazers are in the midst of a four-game winning streak and fighting to avoid the play-in tournament. Tipoff against the Hawks is at 5 pm Portland time.