For 92 years, the iconic Harlem Globetrotters have wowed popes, queens, presidents and the public with feats of athleticism, coordination and skill on the basketball court.
Today’s team features some of the most elite dunkers on the planet, a few Guinness World Record holders and the largest female roster in its history.The Original Harlem Globetrotters are touring North America with stops in 250 cities, including Pullman and Lewiston this weekend.
Here’s some trotter trivia to mark their visit. If you take in one of the shows, don’t forget to stick around afterward for photos and autographs. The team members are known for being gracious in sharing their time with fans.
|Contrary to the name “Harlem,” the Globetrotters didn’t start in New York. The team was formed in Chicago in 1926 by a man named Abe Saperstein who chose the name in an attempt to make it clear to the public this was an all-black team that traveled the world. Professional teams at the time were “whites only” and Saperstein had to work hard to book games for the group.
The Globetrotters are known for mixing comedy with sport, a tradition that started in 1939 during a regular season game when they were ahead 112 to 5. Team members clowned around to break up the boredom, and the crowd loved it. Saperstein deemed the behavior acceptable from that point forward, if the team had a strong lead in a game.
The National Basketball Association formed in 1946 as a “whites only” league that allowed game play against the all-black Globetrotters. The NBA began to draft black players in 1950, and the Globetrotters started to lose its competitive edge as bigger paychecks lured the best players to the NBA. The team’s image started to shift toward entertainment. This reached its height with cartoon shows featuring the team in the 1970s and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the 1980s.
The globetrotters began “drafting” players in 2007, although being drafted doesn’t ensure a spot on the team. This past spring, those drafted included Thor Björnsson, who portrays Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Björnsson is the first person in the world to capture the World’s Strongest Man, Europe’s Strongest Man and the Arnold Strongman Classic in the same year. He played professional basketball in Iceland’s Division I before retiring because of an ankle injury.
IF YOU GO
|WHO: The Original Harlem Globetrotters
WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
WHERE: Washington State University, Beasley Coliseum, Pullman
COST: $25 and up
Tickets available at the Beasley Coliseum box office, ticketswest.com or by calling (800) 325-SEAT.
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, doors open at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Lewis-Clark State College Activity Center, Lewiston
COST: $28 and up
Tickets available at harlemglobetrotters.com, the activity center box office or by calling (866) 468-3399.