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Laurel D’Anotni’s Suns Diary

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Laurel D'Antoni will be filing reports for the Tribune throughout the trip to Europe.
(Jeramie McPeek/Suns Photos)
Hospitality, great food greet team
Laurel D'Antoni's Suns Diary

By Laurel D'Antoni
For the East Valley Tribune
Sep. 26, 2006

We had a great first day on our journey. The 70-plus people on our charter flight (players, wives and staff) were treated first class with fantastic catered food. You could tell everyone was pumped about this adventure.

After a refueling stop in Goose Bay, Newfoundland, we headed toward Greenland and were treated to a green hue of the aurora borealis (“The Northern Lights”) in full bloom before touching down in Treviso. It was 14 hours in the air plus a 10-hour time change.

We were greeted by a wonderful reception committee and our passport and immigration was done in a matter of minutes — I want to fly this way all the time!

We had a police escort to the hotel, which had a buffet waiting with pastas, fresh strawberries and raspberries and other desserts, but the players were off to practice quickly.

After the workout, Mike had a closed-door meeting with the players “to remind them they were here to work.” About 50 players, staff and significant others gathered for a team dinner at the Benetton Ghirada.

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The entertainment was a Suns spoof movie featuring scenes from “The Godfather” and voiceovers about the team. References to rumors of Raja Bell’s “flopping” and shots of Leandro Barbosa dancing were big hits.

The meal was incredible — it would have taken the average Italian about two hours to work his way through it — but the players scarfed it down in 10 minutes.

Laurel D’Antoni, wife of Suns coach Mike D’Antoni, has agreed to give the Tribune an inside look at Phoenix’s trip to Italy and Germany for training camp. This is the first of her reports.

COPYRIGHT 2005, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.