Globetrotters Are Still a Slam Dunk

Every Sunday evening, while watching “The Amazing Race” on TV, I cheer on Big Easy Lofton and Flight Time Lang of the Harlem Globetrotters as they trot around the globe in a race to win $1 million. When I heard that the famed magicians of basketball would be in New Jersey this spring with five games at three different arenas, I jumped at the chance to see them in action.

Was I the oldest person (not a chaperone to a child) in Brookdale Community College’s recently renovated Collins Arena last Wednesday night? Likely. Did I clap along with abandon and gasp in awe as eight Globetrotters, led by Big Easy, performed trick plays and slam dunks? You bet.

I’ll admit it. March–with its college-hoops bracket madness–is pretty much the only time that I get energized about basketball. Seeing the Globetrotters only added to my excitement.

Over the past 85 seasons, the Globetrotters have played in 120 countries and territories on six continents, for more than 132 million fans. Yet they still manage to make each game entertaining. Last Wednesday, the Globetrotters’ perpetual rivals, the fabricated Washington Generals, featured local radio host Lou Russo of 94.3 the Point’s morning show, and Ocean Grove’s Shoreline Dance Academy performed a routine at halftime.

Yes, the Globetrotters interrupt a majority of the 10-minute quarters by dancing and back-flipping around the court, hiking the basketball like a football, pulling down the other teams’ shorts, stealing kids’ cotton candy, and even climbing atop the hoop to sit upon it like a throne. But in between the antics, there’s a real basketball game occurring. There’s sweat on the brows of all the players, yet somehow they make it look effortless as they sink multiple four-point shots (this season’s latest innovation) in a row. These guys have real skills to go with their showmanship.

The Globetrotters don’t always win—but it’s close. Although last Wednesday’s game ended with a 150-116 victory, the Globetrotters have given away 345 games over the past 85 seasons. However, with more than 23,000 wins, the team does own the best winning percentage in the history of professional sports: .986.

Since Big Easy is used to winning so often, I just had to ask him if he and Flight Time were a lock for first-place spot in this season’s “Amazing Race.” The 6’9” player looked up and laughed in between signing autographs. “You’ll have to wait and see,” he said with a wink.

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