UA 53.27




1.42 linear feet (1 document box and 1 oversized item)


Five members of the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Men’s Basketball Team participated in a trip to Cuba in 1977 as part of a South Dakota delegation led by Senators George McGovern and James Abourezk. This collection comprises material related to the 1977 trip to Cuba, including photographs, slides, newspaper clippings, and programs. Also part of the collection are letters and other documents that detail the effort that went into making such an endeavor happen. David Martin, former Sports Information Director at South Dakota State University, created and compiled these material.

Historical Note

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.

Content Notes

The collection contains documents relating to the arrangements made for the Cuba trip and the political implications that surrounded the trip. Correspondence between David Martin and Senator George McGovern detail the breadth of such an undertaking. In addition, a post trip overview, numerous newspaper clippings, photographs, and radio excerpts are included in the collection.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.