Harlem Globetrotters

Last updated
Harlem Globetrotters
Harlem Globetrotters Logo.png
LeaguesIndependent
Founded1926
History1926–27: Chicago GlobeTrotters
1928–29: New York Harlem Globetrotters
1929–present: Harlem Globetrotters
ArenaVaries
LocationCorporate office in Atlanta suburb of Peachtree Corners
International satellite office in Beijing
Team colorsBlue, red, white [1] [2]
            
PresidentHoward Smith [3]
Head coachJimmy Blacklock (coach)
Lou Dunbar (coach)
Barry Hardy (coach)
Ownership Herschend Family Entertainment
Championships27
Website www.harlemglobetrotters.com
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The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team. They combine athleticism, theater, and comedy in their style of play. Over the years, they have played more than 26,000 exhibition games in 124 countries and territories. The team's signature song is Brother Bones' whistled version of "Sweet Georgia Brown". Their mascot is an anthropomorphized globe named Globie. The team plays over 450 live events worldwide each year. The team is currently owned by Herschend Family Entertainment. [4] The executive offices for the team are located in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree Corners.

Exhibition game Sporting event wherein the result has no external impact

An exhibition game is a sporting event whose prize money and impact on the player's or the team's rankings is either zero or otherwise greatly reduced. In team sports, matches of this type are often used to help coaches and managers select and condition players for the competitive matches of a league season or tournament. If the players usually play in different teams in other leagues, exhibition games offer an opportunity for the players to learn to work with each other. The games can be held between separate teams or between parts of the same team.

Basketball Team sport

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Comedy Genre of dramatic works intended to be humorous

In a modern sense, comedy refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.

Contents

History

The Globetrotters originated on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, in the 1920s, where all the original players were raised. The Globetrotters began as the Savoy Big Five, one of the premier attractions of the Savoy Ballroom opened in January 1928, a basketball team of African-American players that played exhibitions before dances due to declining dance attendance. [5] In 1928, several players left the team in a dispute. That autumn, those players, led by Tommy Brookins, formed a team called the "Globe Trotters" and toured Southern Illinois that spring. Abe Saperstein became involved with the team as its manager and promoter. By 1929, Saperstein was touring Illinois and Iowa with his basketball team called the "New York Harlem Globe Trotters". Saperstein selected Harlem, New York, New York, as their home city since Harlem was considered the center of African-American culture at the time and an out-of-town team name would give the team more of a mystique. [6] In fact, the Globetrotters did not play in Harlem until 1968, four decades after the team's formation.

Chicago city and county seat of Cook County, Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most-populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois and the third-most-populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is also the most-populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second-most-populous county in the US, and portions of the city extend westward into neighboring DuPage County. It is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland. At nearly 10 million people, the metropolitan area is the third-most-populous in the nation.

Illinois American State

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

Abe Saperstein American basketball player

Abraham Michael Saperstein was the founder, owner and earliest coach of the Harlem Globetrotters. Saperstein was a leading figure in black basketball and baseball in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, primarily before those sports were racially integrated.

1950 World Series Harlem Globetrotters with owner Abe Saperstein (right) and team secretary W. S. Welch (left) 1950 World Series Harlem Globetrotters.jpg
1950 World Series Harlem Globetrotters with owner Abe Saperstein (right) and team secretary W. S. Welch (left)

The Globetrotters were perennial participants in the World Professional Basketball Tournament, winning it in 1940. In a heavily attended matchup a few years later, the 1948 Globetrotters–Lakers game, the Globetrotters made headlines when they beat one of the best white basketball teams in the country, the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers). The Globetrotters continued to easily win games due to Harlem owning the entire talent pool consisting of the best black basketball players of the country at the time. Once one of the most famous teams in the country, the Globetrotters were eventually eclipsed by the rise of the National Basketball Association, particularly when NBA teams began fielding African-American players in the 1950s. [7] In 1950, Harlem Globetrotter Chuck Cooper became the first black player to be drafted in the NBA by Boston and teammate Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton became the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract when the New York Knicks purchased his contract from the Globetrotters for $12,500 (Harlem getting $10,000 and Clifton getting $2,500. [8]

The World Professional Basketball Tournament was an invitational tournament held in Chicago and sponsored by the Chicago Herald American. The annual event was held from 1939 to 1948, and the winner was generally acknowledged as the World Champions of basketball. Many teams came from the National Basketball League, but it also included the best teams from other leagues and the best independent barnstorming teams such as the New York Rens and Harlem Globetrotters. Games were played at various sites including Chicago Coliseum, International Amphitheater and Chicago Stadium.

The 1948 Globetrotters–Lakers game was a dramatic match-up between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Minneapolis Lakers. Played in Chicago Stadium, the game took place two years before professional basketball was desegregated. The Globetrotters' 61–59 victory – by two points at the buzzer – challenged prevailing racial stereotypes about the abilities of black athletes.

Los Angeles Lakers American professional basketball team

The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference in the Pacific Division. The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, and have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics.

The Globetrotters gradually worked comic routines into their act—a direction the team has credited to Reece "Goose" Tatum, [9] who joined in 1941—and eventually became known more for entertainment than sports. [10] The Globetrotters' acts often feature incredible coordination and skillful handling of one or more basketballs, such as passing or juggling balls between players, balancing or spinning balls on their fingertips, and making unusually difficult shots. [11]

Goose Tatum 20th-century African American professional basketball and baseball player

Reece "Goose" Tatum was an African American baseball and basketball player. In 1942, he was signed to the Harlem Globetrotters and had an 11-year career with the team. He later formed his own team known as the Harlem Magicians with former Globetrotters player Marques Haynes. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Tatum's number 50 is retired by the Globetrotters.

In 1952, the Globetrotters invited Louis "Red" Klotz to create a team to accompany them on their tours. This team, the Washington Generals (who also played under various other names), became the Globetrotters' primary opponents. The Generals are effectively stooges for the Globetrotters, with the Globetrotters handily defeating them in thousands of games. [12] [13]

Washington Generals Exhibition basketball team known for losing

The Washington Generals are an American basketball team who play exhibition games against the Harlem Globetrotters. The team has also played under several different aliases in their history as the Globetrotters' perennial opponents.

The Harlem Globetrotters in the Netherlands (1958)

In 1959, the Globetrotters played nine games in Moscow after Saperstein received an invitation from Vasily Gricorevich, the director of Lenin Central Stadium. [14] The team, which included Wilt Chamberlain, was welcomed enthusiastically by spectators and authorities; they met Premier Nikita Khrushchev [15] and collectively received the Athletic Order of Lenin medal. [16]

Luzhniki Stadium sports stadium in Russia

Luzhniki Stadium is the national stadium of Russia, located in its capital city, Moscow. The full name of the stadium is Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex. Its total seating capacity of 81,000 makes it the largest football stadium in Russia and one of the largest stadiums in Europe. The stadium is a part of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, and is located in Khamovniki District of the Central Administrative Okrug of Moscow city. The name Luzhniki derives from the flood meadows in the bend of Moskva River where the stadium was built, translating roughly as "The Meadows".

Nikita Khrushchev First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev was a Soviet statesman who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev's party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

However, according to one report, spectators were initially confused: "A Soviet audience of 14,000 sat almost silently, as if in awe, through the first half of the game. It warmed up slightly in the second half when it realized the Trotters are more show than competition." [17] The Globetrotters brought their own opponent—not the Washington Generals, but the San Francisco Chinese Basketeers. [14] A review in Pravda stated, "This is not basketball; it is too full of tricks" but praised the Globetrotters' skills and suggested that "they have some techniques to show us." [18] The American press—particularly Drew Pearson—made note of the fact that the Globetrotters were paid (per game) the equivalent of $4,000, which could be spent only in Moscow. The games were used as evidence that U.S.–Soviet relations were improving, that Moscow was backing off its criticism of race relations inside America, and that the USSR was becoming more capitalist (Pearson suggested that the games were held because Lenin Stadium needed money). [19] [20]

Many famous basketball players have played for the Globetrotters. Greats such as "Wee" Willie Gardner, Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins, Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain, and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton later went on to join the NBA. The Globetrotters signed their first female player, Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard, in 1985. [21] The Globetrotters have featured thirteen female players in their history. Baseball Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Bob Gibson, and Ferguson Jenkins also played for the team at one time or another. Because nearly all of the team's players have historically been African American, and as a result of the buffoonery involved in many of the Globetrotters' skits, they drew some criticism during the Civil Rights era. The players were accused by some civil-rights advocates of "Tomming for Abe", a reference to Uncle Tom and Jewish owner Abe Saperstein. However, prominent civil rights activist Jesse Jackson (who would later be named an Honorary Globetrotter) came to their defense by stating, "I think they've been a positive influence... They did not show blacks as stupid. On the contrary, they were shown as superior." [7] In 1995, Orlando Antigua became the first Hispanic player on the team. He was the first non-black player on the Globetrotters' roster since Bob Karstens played with the squad in 1942–43. [22]

The Globetrotters' Magic Circle in 2019 Washington Generals vs. Harlem Globetrotters June 2019 03 (Globetrotters Magic Circle).jpg
The Globetrotters' Magic Circle in 2019

While parts of a modern exhibition game are pre-planned, the games themselves are not fixed. While their opponents do not interfere with the Globetrotters’ hijinks while on defense, they play a serious game when in possession of the ball and about 20 to 30 percent of a game is "real". This once led to an infamous defeat at the hands of the Washington Generals in 1971, to the distress of the watching crowd, after the Globetrotters lost track of a big lead with their tricks and the Generals hit a game-winning buzzer-beater. [23] [24]

Championships

The Globetrotters won the World Professional Basketball Tournament once, in 1940, beating the Chicago Bruins with a score of 31–29.

Current roster

Harlem Globetrotters roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOB (YYYY-MM-DD)From
G 1 Thompson, Lili "Champ" 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)University of Notre Dame State
G 2 English, Carlos "Dizzy" 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) Cleveland State
G 3 Fisher, Tay "Firefly" 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) Siena
F 4 Merriweather, Albert "Money" 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)East Tennessee State University
F 5 Mack, Chandler "Bulldog" 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)Freed-Harderman University
G 6 Green, Brianna "Hoops" 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)University of Texas - El Paso
G 9 Swanson, Jahmani "Hot Shot" 4 ft 5 in (1.35 m)Monroe College
G 10 George, Cherelle "Torch" 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) Purdue
G 11 Chisholm, Brawley "Cheese" 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Ball State
12 Atkinson, Anthony "Ant" 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) Barton College
14 Franklin, Chris "Handles" 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Lock Haven University
G 15 Hrynko, Brittany "Ice" 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Montana
G 16 Christensen, Shane "Scooter" 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Montana
G 17 Sutton, Lakisha "Swish" 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) South Carolina
G 18 Lister, Fatima "TNT" 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) Temple
G 19 White, Saul "Flip" 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)Moraine Valley Community College (ILL)
G 21 Lee, Mike "Lights Out" 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)Dakota Wesleyan University
F 23 Law, Corey "Thunder" 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) High Point University
F 24 Taylor, DeAndre "Dragon" 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Northern Michigan
26 Bruton, Kris "Hi-Lite" 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) Benedict
F 29 Douglas, Devan "Beast" 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)University of Mary
F 30 McClurkin, Julian "Zeus" 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) North Carolina A&T
F 31 Harrison, Donte "Hammer" 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) Hampton
G 32 Rivers, Latif "Jet" 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Wagner
G 33 Bullard, William "Bull" 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
F 39 Meléndez, Orlando "El Gato" 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) North Carolina
F 41 Dunbar, Louis "Sweet Lou II" 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) Oklahoma City
F 42 Sharpless, Angelo "Spider" 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)Elizabeth City State University
F 43 Artis, Darnell "Speedy" 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)Gwynedd Mercy University
F 44 Versher, Wun "The Shot" 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Arizona State
F 45 Weekes, Alex "Moose" 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) Middle Tennessee
F 45 Hyche, Chris "Animal" 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Talladega College
F 48 Ball, Antjuan "Clutch" 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) West Texas A&M
52 Lofton, Nathaniel "Big Easy" 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) Southeastern Louisiana
F 53 January, Quincy "Crush" 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)Saint Augustine's University
F 54 Hinton, Craig "Hi-Rise" 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) Appalachian State
G 58 Pearce, Max "Hops" 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)Purchase College
G 59 Tompkins, Justin "X-Over" 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)Borough of Manhattan Community College
Head coach
  • Vacant

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured

Roster
Last transaction: 2017-01-24

[25]

Draft

Starting in 2007, the Globetrotters have conducted an annual "draft" a few days before the NBA draft, in which they select players they feel fit the mold of a Globetrotter. Being drafted by the Globetrotters does not guarantee a spot on the team, although several drafted players have gone on to become Globetrotters: Anthony "Ant" Atkinson (2007), Brent Petway (2007), William "Bull" Bullard (2008), Tay "Firefly" Fisher (2008), Charlie Coley III (2009), Paul "Tiny" Sturgess (2011), Jacob "Hops" Tucker (2011), Darnell "Spider" Wilks (2011), Bryan "B-Nice" Narcisse (2012), Tyrone Davis (2013), Corey "Thunder" Law (2013), Tyler "Iceman" Inman (2014) Devan "Beast" Douglas (2016) and AJ "Money" Merriweather. [26]

Other notable draft picks by the Globetrotters include: Sun Mingming (2007), Patrick Ewing, Jr. (2008), Sonny Weems (2008), Taylor Griffin (2009), Tim Howard (2009), Mark Titus (2010), Lionel Messi (2011), Andrew Goudelock (2011), Usain Bolt (2012), Mariano Rivera (2013), Brittney Griner (2013), Johnny Manziel (2014), Landon Donovan (2014), Mo'ne Davis (2015), Dude Perfect (2015), Neymar (2016), Missy Franklin (2016), Jordan Spieth (2016), Craig Sager (2016), Gal Gadot (2017), Aaron Judge (2017), Tim Tebow (2017) Paul Pogba (2018), and Joseph Kilgore (2018). [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

Retired numbers

The Globetrotters have honored seven players by retiring their numbers:

Wilt Chamberlain, the first Globetrotter to have his jersey number retired, in 2000 Wilt Chamberlain3.jpg
Wilt Chamberlain, the first Globetrotter to have his jersey number retired, in 2000
Harlem Globetrotters retired numbers
No.PlayerTenureDate retired
13 Wilt Chamberlain 1958–59March 9, 2000
20 Marques Haynes 1947–53, 1972–79January 5, 2001
22 Fred "Curly" Neal 1963–85February 15, 2008
34 Charles "Tex" Harrison 1954–72December 26, 2017
35 Hubert "Geese" Ausbie 1961–85January 31, 2017
36 Meadowlark Lemon 1954–79, 1993 [32] January 5, 2001
50 Goose Tatum 1941–43, 1945–55 [33] February 8, 2002

In mass media/popular culture

Soupy Sales and the Harlem Globetrotters; from a 1969 television special Soupy Sales Harlem Globetrotters 1969.JPG
Soupy Sales and the Harlem Globetrotters; from a 1969 television special

The Harlem Globetrotters have been featured in several of their own films and television series:

Honorary members

Ten people have been officially named as honorary members of the team: [43]

In addition Bill Cosby (1972) and Magic Johnson (2003) were each signed to honorary $1-a-year lifetime contracts with the Globetrotters. [47] [48] [49] When Cosby's nominal association with the team was the subject of criticism following sexual assault allegations, the Globetrotters stated that they had had no association with him for decades. [49]

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

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