Basketball Clowns- The Harlem Globetrotters

I had the chance yesterday to go to a blogger event with 5 of the Harlem Globetrotters.  They are preparing to appear in Brooklyn for the first time (Sunday October 7 at 5 pm at the Barclays Center) – click link to purchase tickets.

Harlem Globetrotters at the Barclay Center in BrooklynThis is the 87nth season of the Harlem Globetrotters, and throughout these seasons they’ve entertained millions of people all around the world.  They  were the first professional basketball team to play in Europe, and they’ve played for the Pope, for Kings and Queens, and for lots and lots of families.

One of the current players, Big Easy, who has appeared on a number of reality shows, said that with the Globetrotters he’s played basketball in over 70 countries in the last 11 years.  All told, their website says they’ve played in over 120 countries!

If you haven’t seen the Globetrotters before, they are part professional wrestling antics, part ballhandling artistry, and all basketball.  They currently play nearly 250 games a year against the hapless Washington Generals, a no nonsense team that has won a handful of times.  The games are not scripted, so there is a certain commedia dell’arte improvisatory nature to their shows-

Meadowlark Lemon

Curly Nealthe lazzi and the routines will appear, but it’s not sure exactly when (I actually use basketball as a metaphor for commedia when teaching– we all know where the basket is, and we all know that we are going to get there, but the how — is all improvised depending on what our team-mates and our opponents do.)
I have fond memories of watching the Globetrotters as a kid, and it might very well be that I saw them before I saw the circus.  Certainly I remember the games with Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon, and the constant harassing of the referee, and of course the bucket of water/confetti.

They may be the first clowns that people experience, and although they don’t wear red noses, they work in the same idea and milieu as clowns.

I’m looking forward to attending the game on October 7.  Hope to see you there!


Here’s some Globetrotter footage from 2010

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