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; 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
Website www.harlemglobetrotters.com
Uniforms
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Kit body basketball.svg
Kit shorts globetrotters.png
Kit shorts.svg
Primary
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Kit body basketball.svg
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Secondary

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 123 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 suburban Atlanta.

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 played on a court with baskets on either end

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. 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. [5] In fact, the Globetrotters did not play in Harlem until 1968, four decades after the team's formation.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. As of the 2017 census-estimate, it has a population of 2,716,450, which makes it the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America, and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the 5th largest Gross Domestic Product by state, is the 6th-most populous U.S. state and 25th-largest state in terms of land area. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in northern and central Illinois, 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, contains over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports around the world from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean; as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway on 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). 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. [6] 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.

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, [7] who joined in 1941—and eventually became known more for entertainment than sports. [8] 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. [9]

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. [10] [11]

Washington Generals Exhibition basketball team known for losing

The Washington Generals are an American basketball team, best known for their spectacular losing streak in exhibition games against the Harlem Globetrotters. The team has also played under several different aliases in their long 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. [12] The team, which included Wilt Chamberlain, was welcomed enthusiastically by spectators and authorities; they met Premier Nikita Khrushchev [13] and collectively received the Athletic Order of Lenin medal. [14]

Luzhniki Stadium sports stadium in Russia

Luzhniki Stadium is the national stadium of Russia, located in its capital city, Moscow. 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." [15] The Globetrotters brought their own opponent—not the Washington Generals, but the San Francisco Chinese Basketeers. [12] 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." [16] 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). [17] [18]

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. [19] 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." [6] 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. [20]

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, to the distress of a watching crowd. [21]

Trophies

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 0 Maberry, Porter "Primetime" 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
G 2 English, Carlos "Dizzy" 5 ft 9 in (1.75 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 7 Hall, Jonte "Too Tall" 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m) CCBC-Catonsville
G 8 Mortimer, Hannah "Mighty" 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)Wichita State University
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 16 Christensen, Shane "Scooter" 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Montana
G 17 Young, Bria "Swish" 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)Philadelphia University
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 38 Ballard, Joe "Jumpin'" 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Glenville State College
F 39 Meléndez, Orlando "El Gato" 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) North Carolina
F 42 Sharpless, Angelo "Spider" 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)Elizabeth City State 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
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

[22]

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. [23]

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). [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]

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 [29] January 5, 2001
50 Goose Tatum 1941–43, 1945–55 [30] 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: [40]

In addition Bill Cosby (1972) and Magic Johnson (2003) were each signed to honorary $1-a-year lifetime contracts with the Globetrotters. [44] [45] [46] 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. [46]

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

Meadowlark Lemon American exhibition basketball player

Meadow Lemon III known professionally as Meadowlark Lemon, was an American basketball player, actor, and Christian minister. From 1994, he served Meadowlark Lemon Ministries in Scottsdale, Arizona. For 22 years, he was known as the "Clown Prince" of the touring Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. He played in more than 16,000 games for the Globetrotters and was a 2003 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Nathaniel Clifton American basketball player-coach

Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton was an American multi-sport athlete best known as one of the first African Americans to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Oliver J. Miller is an American former professional basketball player who played 7 seasons in the NBA.

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Curly Neal American basketball player

Fred "Curly" Neal is an American former basketball player best known for his career with the Harlem Globetrotters, instantly recognizable with his shaved head. Following in the footsteps of Marques Haynes, Neal became the Trotters' featured ballhandler, a key role in the team's exhibition act.

Red Klotz American basketball player

Louis Herman "Red" Klotz was an American professional basketball player. He was a National Basketball Association (NBA) point guard with the original Baltimore Bullets, and he was best known for forming the teams that play against and tour with the Harlem Globetrotters: the Washington Generals and the New York Nationals. He was the oldest-living NBA world champion.

<i>Harlem Globetrotters</i> (TV series) television series

Harlem Globetrotters is a Saturday morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera and CBS Productions, featuring animated versions of players from the famous basketball team, Harlem Globetrotters.

<i>Go Man Go</i> (film) 1954 film by James Wong Howe

Go, Man, Go! is a 1954 sports film directed by James Wong Howe, starring Dane Clark, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Patricia Breslin, The Harlem Globetrotters and Slim Gaillard. Clark plays Abe Saperstein, the organizer of the Globetrotters. Poitier's character is Inman Jackson, the team's showboating center. Breslin plays Sylvia Saperstein, the love interest, and Abe's daughter. Gaillard plays himself.

Wyatt "Sonny" Boswell was an early African American professional basketball player. He was born in Greenville, Mississippi and grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where he attended Scott High School. He played for the Harlem Globetrotters from 1939 to 1942.

The 1951–52 Seattle Chieftains men's basketball team represented Seattle University.

Jumpin Jackie Jackson is an American former professional basketball player. Jackson was one of the first streetball legends in the Rucker Playground Basketball Tournaments in New York City in the early 1960s. He went on to a 20-year career with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning his nickname by allegedly snatching a quarter from the top of a basketball backboard on a bet.

Paul Sturgess is an English former professional basketball player who last played for the Cheshire Phoenix of the British Basketball League. He was officially measured barefeet by Guinness World Records in November 2011 at 7 ft 7.26 in (2.32 m) and 325 lb (147 kg). Sturgess was the tallest college basketball player in the United States.

Bob Hahn Professional basketball player

Robert M. "Bob" Hahn was a professional basketball player who spent one season in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Chicago Stags during the 1949–50 season. He attended North Carolina State University.

Louis "Babe" Pressley was an American professional basketball player. He played in the National Basketball League for the Chicago Studebaker Flyers. He was also a long-time player for the Harlem Globetrotters. Pressley signed with the Globetrotters in 1937 until 1958. Pressley was key in double teaming George Mikan, when the Globetrotters beat the Lakers. He was inducted into the Cleveland Hall of Fame in 1976. Pressley was recognized as an athletic great in an article concerning Abe Saperstein.

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