Times-Tribune Staff Report
The Harlem Globetrotters “Spinning the Globe” world tour will make a stop at Corbin’s new expo center this April, where the odds are good that they’ll crush the Washington Generals.
The legendary Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their 2009 tour to more than 200 cities across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico with their unique brand of family fun, comedy and basketball exhibition skills.
The Globetrotters have become known around the world for basketball wizardry, hilarious antics and fan interaction, all presented by great athletes and entertainers, such as Special K Daley and Big Easy Lofton, dribbling sensations Scooter Christensen and Flight Time Lang, the gravity-defying Hi-Lite Bruton and Hi Rise Brown, ball handling extraordinaires Handles Franklin and Blenda Rodriguez, and fan favorites Ant Atkinson and General Grant.
The 243-game tour runs until the final week of April 2009. Corbin’s Southeast Kentucky Agriculture & Expo Center will host the team for an event at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 19. Tickets range from $18-55.
Now in their 83rd consecutive season of touring, the Harlem Globetrotters have played in 120 countries on six continents.
According to the team’s official Web site at www.harlemglobetrotters.com, the team was formed in 1926 in Chicago as the “Savoy Big Five.” Owner Abe Saperstein later called the team the New York Globetrotters and then, in 1930, changed the name to the “Harlem” Globetrotters to emphasize that all the team members were black. (Interestingly, the Globetrotters didn’t actually play a game in Harlem until 1968.)
The Globetrotters started as a serious basketball team, traveling the country and sporting an impressive winning record. According to the site, during one game in 1939, the team was leading 112-5 and players starting clowning around. The crowd loved it. The team’s owner said it was OK for players to goof off (and show off) during the games, but only when they had a very comfortable lead. That was also the year that player Inman Jackson initiated the “Clown Prince” of basketball role and the pivot movement that is used throughout all levels of basketball play today.
By 1953, the Globetrotters contracted with Red Klotz to develop an opposition team for the Globetrotters to play in staged exhibition games (though both sides will deny the games are lost on purpose.) Klotz’s teams took the court under various names, including the Washington Generals, and the team made ball-handling and tricks the focus of its games. Klotz’s teams continue to lose to the Globetrotters on a regular basis.
The Globetrotters are one of only six teams to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The team has played more than 25,000 games, entertaining everyone from presidents to popes.
Times-Tribune Staff Report
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