Monday, May 16, 2005

Somebody has to humiliate the Washington Generals...

Cue "Sweet Georgia Brown"...

I saw a great special on PBS tonight on the Harlem Globetrotters. I've previously known some of the history, but was never completely aware of the major impact they had on world politics. They broke many barriers- race being the most obvious, but they also helped create better world relations. They accomplished some really mind-blowing stuff. Early greats like Marques Haynes and "Sweetwater" Clifton revolutionized basketball and helped make the NBA what it is today (is that a good thing?).

When I was a kid I loved the Harlem Globetrotters. You may know that I'm not a sports nut, but I was always a bit of a basketball fan. Growing up in Oregon I was naturally a Portland Trailblazers fan. I never saw a game (never went to a game and the games were blacked out on TV...we didn't have cable), but I was a fan nonetheless. I still think that Clyde Drexler (along with Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey) was one of the best NBA players of all time. But nothing excited "the kid" in my young self like the Harlem Globetrotters. I always looked forward to catching games or excerpts on ABC's Wide World of Sports on Saturdays. The routines were always the same, but were always good for a laugh (just like the Pink Panther movies). I grew up in the era after "Goose" Tatum and Wilt Chamberlain and just caught the end of "Meadowlark" Lemon. I grew up in the age of "Geese" Ausbie and "Curly" Neal. I remember seeing them on Gilligan's Island and watching the Saturday morning cartoon where they took on special powers. Those were good times. I was lucky enough to see them twice in person. It was great both times. If you have any kids I strongly urge to take them to see a Harlem Globetrotters game whenever they're in town. It'll be an experience that you'll all enjoy and you'll help implant a great childhood memory. Every kid should go to at least one Globetrotters game.

The Harlem Globetrotters may be the "clown princes of basketball", but their "traditional" basketball skills still show-up some of the best of the NBA. Yao Ming was inspired to play basketball after seeing the Globetrotters play. This story holds true for many basketball players and coaches today. The popularity of the Globetrotters may have peaked, but they're still as great and as important as ever. I really hope that Americans can re-embrace them the way the rest of the world already has. The world needs to let loose a bit and I think that the Harlem Globetrotters may be the perfect ambassadors. I really hope that you can catch the special in a re-run. It's absolutely astounding what they were able to accomplish in Buenos Aires, Germany, and elsewhere. You'd be surprised. Henry Kissinger was one of the people interviewed for the special. That should say something. It's also narrated (and produced?) by Chuck D. The jokes may be routine and corny, but the Harlem Globetrotters are still as funny and important as ever. They've brought smiles to countless millions of people already. The world needs more smiles...



Blogger Kathleen said...

I'm with you on the Harlem Globetrotters, Jason. I LOVED THEM!!! I never got to see them in person though. And I was the Meadowlark Lemon era. They were just so cool. I'll have to try to catch that show on them.

7:45 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home