's photographic tour of Atlanta

Photos from Atlanta, part 1

With the Pistons still battling in the NBA playoffs on May 23, I wasnít able to see the Atlanta Dreamís inaugural home opener, which happened to be against the Shock. But I did make it to the second meeting at Philips Arena this past Sunday, where I got a closer look at the latest city the WNBA calls home.

I realize the shotís a little dark, but thatís because Iím standing in a tunnel. Iím riding the MARTA - Metro Atlanta Rapid Transportation Authority - from the airport to the hotel, and saw this sign along several stops. Just one of the conventional ways the Dream is making its presence felt around Atlanta. You might recognize that the player with the child is former Shock guard Ivory Latta. She is definitely the Dreamís ďposter child.Ē I later learned that Lattaís No. 12 jersey is one of the hottest items of Dream merchandise. They love her here.

You may recall a tornado blew through Downtown Atlanta back in March, during the SEC menís basketball tournament, causing severe damage to the Georgia Dome and several other structures. The path of destruction is visible even today, three months later. Just down the road from the Georgia Dome is the Omni Hotel at CNN Center, where the Shock players stayed. You can see the taped-up windows while a repair crew goes to work.

Here is a view of downtown from the other side of the hotel, which took the brunt of the damage. The twister shattered nearly every window on that side. The cylinder-like building is the Westin Peachtree Plaza. I don't know if this is true or not, but I was told the Westin was dislodged slightly from its foundation. It has a long way to go before it's the Leaning Tower of Atlanta, however.

Centennial Olympic Park resides just across the street from the CNN Center complex. The 1996 Summer Olympics came and went, but the park has continued to serve as a remarkable public venue enjoyed by Atlanta residents and visitors alike. Considering how hot a Georgia summer day can be, the weekend weather was ideal for our stay. But that didnít stop the youngsters from running through the fountains, laid out in the path of the Olympic rings.

On to Philips Arena Ö