By Nickie Wang
Basketball-playing circus Harlem Globetrotters is known more for entertainment than sports, but every basketball enthusiast has seen this exhibition team on television or perhaps has DVD collection of its exhibition games. Indeed, many fanatics follow this exhibition team that has been entertaining people across the globe for almost nine decades now.
A Globetrotter is known for his athleticism, agility on the hard court, exceptional dribbling talent and for his ability to make incredible and unusual highflying dunks and trick shots. He is skillful in handling one or more basketballs. He can pass them in between players while leaving his opponent in the state of awe. He performs all of these skills and combines them with slapstick comedy.
In an effort to give Filipino fans a rare chance to see the Harlem Globetrotters live again after seventeen years, Solar Entertainment and Max Entertainment have teamed up to bring the world’s oldest and most successful basketball team to the country.
On May 24 and 25, the Araneta Coliseum will hear the instantly recognizable whistle tune, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” as the likes of Anthony “Buckets” Blakes, Hi Rise Brown, and Skyscraper Alleyne give a one-of-a-kind basketball entertainment.
“We are proud to be able to bring the Harlem Globetrotters Tour to the Philippines . We have been bringing the best of basketball to viewers in the country through coverage of the NBA and PBA and we continue with the live version of the Harlem Globetrotters,” Peter Chanliong of Solar Entertainment said.
Part of the tour’s promotion, one of Globetrotters’ top performer Buckets Blakes arrived in the country recently to give fans a sneak peek of what to expect in May. The 6-foot-2 cager performed some basketball tricks during the PBA All Star Game last Sunday and served as one of the judges for the Slam Dunk Competition where James Yap and import David Noel adjudged as big winners.
“We are looking forward to doing something wonderful for the Filipino fans. It’s been seventeen years and I think we’re going to leave a lasting impression. The reception I’ve got being here has been wonderful; there are warm welcomes and great food,” 32-year-old Anthony “Buckets” Blakes told the press before the All Star Game.
According to Blakes, the team is very family-oriented and it is the most accessible professional basketball team because after the game, instead of heading to the locker room, members stay at the court to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans.
“Aside from seeing us, people will also have the chance to meet us. I want them to know that these guys are hand-picked by our scouts and the guys are not just great basketball players but great individuals as well. We are not about being the most famous personality or popular player; we just want to be the best people we could possibly be,” the basketball player and Wyoming University graduate assured.
With his incredible skill as a Guard he said that he doesn’t want to join the NBA because he definitely found his calling with the Globetrotters. Now in his seventh season with the team, Blakes loves working with and mentoring kids.
“You need to be a good basketball player, a good entertainer and a good person. And I can assure that we’ve let a lot of good basketball players go in our tryouts because they didn’t meet some of those qualifications,” Harlem Globetrotters official said and added, “Any of our players could baby-sit your kids.”
Each Globetrotter tries to exemplify that the team is an ambassador of goodwill on and off the court. Globetrotters are known for being good role models to children.
The basketball team was organized in 1926 initially to be a competitive team. It first won world professional championship in 1940 and for the last 50 years, it has played exhibition games all over the world, displaying spectacular ball handling and humorous antics. Globetrotters are well-known for their uniform that resembles the American flag. The team has played more than 20,000 exhibition games in 118 countries over the years.
Among the players who have been Globetrotters are NBA greats Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, Connie “The Hawk” Hawkins, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton , George “Meadowlark” Lemon, Reece “Goose” Tatum, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Hubert “Geese” Ausbie.
“Some guys are given names and some guys come with their own names. Buckets came as ah, I can score; let us put it that way. I can get buckets,” Anthony Blakes ended.
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