Martin, Dave

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Martin, Dave

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David Martin, the SDSU Sports Information Director, sought to bring SDSU men’s basketball players to Cuba and play the Cuban National Basketball Team. He worked with Senator George McGovern and Senator James Abourezk to bring members from both SDSU and the University of South Dakota’s men’s basketball teams to Cuba. Due to the severed diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba at this time, Senator McGovern saw this as an opportunity to rebuild relations between the countries. After two years of tremendous effort, Martin’s vision became a reality. Five basketball players from SDSU and five players from the University of South Dakota were selected to serve as ambassadors for South Dakota and the United States. Including the basketball players and their coaches, a total of 100 Americans made the trek to Cuba in April 4, 1977. Other visitors consisted Senators McGovern and Abourezk, dignitaries, officials from the universities, spouses, and the press, including Tom P. Nelson, the trip photographer. / While in Cuba, the Americans toured the country and met with Cuban dignitaries. As the American basketball players charged on the court, they were given a standing ovation. Cuban Prime Minister, Fidel Castro, along with 15,000 attendees watched the games. Fans cheered for both teams. The American basketball players lost every game against their Cuban counterparts. The Americans returned to the United States on April 8, 1977.

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