Harlem Globetrotters

From Academic Kids

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Harlem_Globetrotters.jpg
Eugene "Killer" Edgerson of the Harlem Globetrotters goes up for a lay-up

The Harlem Globetrotters are a comic basketball team that combines athleticism and comedy to create one of the best-known sports franchises in the world. Created by Abe Saperstein in 1927 in the United States, over the years they have toured more than 100 countries putting on exhibition games, mostly against hopeless opposition like the Washington Generals (until 1995) and the New York Nationals (1995-present) and have played over 20,000 games.

The Globetrotters started in the Negro American Legion League as the "Giles Post", and in 1927 turned professional as the "Savoy Big Five". That year, promoter Saperstein bought the team and re-named it the Harlem Globetrotters, after the most famous of all African American neighborhoods. Up until the late 1930s, the Globetrotters were a serious competitive team, but they gradually worked comic routines into their act until they became known more for entertainment than sports. 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 the fingertips, and unusual or difficult shots.

Among the players who have been Globetrotters are NBA greats Wilt Chamberlain and Reece "Goose" Tatum, as well as Meadowlark Lemon, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, and Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins. Another popular team member in the 1970s and 1980s was Fred "Curly" Neal who was the best dribbler of that era of the team's history and was immediately recognizable due to his shaven head. Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson also briefly played for the team in the late 1950s.

The team was arguably at the height of its popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. During that time, it was featured in numerous television series, including animated ones such as Harlem Globetrotters and Super Globetrotters, and a live-action one called Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine. They have also made appearances on several Scooby-Doo episodes. In more recent years they have made appearances on the animated show Futurama.

Because virtually all of its players have been African American and because of the buffoonery involved in many of the Globetrotters' skits, they drew some criticism in the post-Civil Rights era. In recent years, however, their popularity seems to have returned, notably with their 2002 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

To try to offset the criticism that they do not play "real basketball", in recent years the Trotters have scheduled games against college teams and pick up teams like Magic Johnson's All Stars with varying results. This renews a tradition of playing NBA teams, which the Globetrotters did during the 1950s.

The Harlem Globetrotters visited Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in November of 2000 and named the Pontiff an Honorary Harlem Globetrotter.

"Sweet Georgia Brown" is the team's signature song.

External links

it:Harlem Globetrotters sk:Harlem Globetrotters

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