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Jermaine O'Neal Misses Game at Toronto Raptors Due to Passport Issue

Golden State Warriors' Jermaine O'Neal takes aim at a free throw during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Phoenix.  The Suns defeated the Warriors 122-109. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
Jim CavanContributor IMarch 3, 2014

Sometimes you hear about a silly NBA miscue or oversight and get torn between two dueling thoughts:

The first is, “How could this happen?”

The second is, “I’m actually shocked this doesn’t happen more often.”

File the Golden State Warriors’ Jermaine O’Neal losing his passport under both. From the Associated Press (via USA Today):

After beating the Knicks in New York on Friday night, Golden State flew north of the border on Saturday. Jackson said O'Neal's missing passport was discovered late Saturday afternoon, and the team didn't have enough time to find a solution.

For his part, O’Neal implied the passport hadn't been lost, but stolen.

So Jermaine seems to be taking this pretty hard.

Couple of things: First, in the pantheon of travel-related NBA screw-ups, this seems pretty minor.

Secondly, I wonder what would’ve happened had O’Neal just tried to get through customs anyway. I mean, here’s an enormous basketball player traveling with a bunch of other basketball players, the rest of whom ostensibly have their passports.

Pretty sure he’s OK, airport security people.

At the same time, I’m not entirely sure what someone would want with Jermaine O’Neal’s passport. Unless there’s another seven-foot Jermaine O’Neal walking around who really wanted a passport, of course. I suppose that’s possible.

As it turns out, the Warriors ended up falling to the Toronto Raptors, 104-98, a six-point margin. Jermaine O’Neal’s 2013-14 average: 7.6 points per game.

That’s just cruel.

O’Neal is expected to be with the team for their date with the Indiana Pacers—Jermaine’s longtime employer—Tuesday night.

He is not, however, expected to have a second career as a reality TV star, according to ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin, who said, "Losing his passport isn’t going to win any fans with Warriors management. It’s also going to ruin his future chances of being a contestant on The Amazing Race."


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