Lakers made aware of travel alert on Europe trip
The Lakers were three days into a breezy eight-day swing through Europe when reality arrived.
The team received news of an upcoming travel alert, issued by the U.S. State Department on Sunday morning, urging American citizens in Europe to be vigilant, especially in public places such as tourist sites and transportation hubs.
The Lakers play exhibition games Monday in London against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Thursday in Spain against FC Barcelona.
The travel alert was considered less serious than a travel warning and was issued in response to intelligence about a possible Al Qaeda plan to send gunmen into crowded European places to harm Western civilians, similar to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.
NBA security officials briefed the Lakers before Sunday’s practice.
“NBA security is staying in touch with the U.S. Embassy, the FBI and Scotland Yard and keeping us updated on the situation,” Lakers spokesman John Black said.
Although the Lakers took note of the terrorism advisory, they didn’t change their whole approach in England because of a nonspecific threat.
“If a country invites you ... you stay in their country,” forward Ron Artest said.
Pau Gasol, a Spanish citizen, said: “I don’t perceive any threat.… I was out all day [Saturday] and I’ll try to be out all day [Sunday]. You’ve got to continue life as it is.”