This afternoon I happened to stop by the Centre Daily Times website to read the local news. I noticed that the Harlem Globetrotters were in town and playing tonight. Somehow this had eluded me. On the spot I decided to go to the game.
As a kid I read Meadowlark lemon’s biography. And I also watched a taped copy of a televised game the Globetrotters played right after Hurricane Hugo many times. The players I remember from that game are ‘Sweet’ Lou Dunbar, ‘Twiggy’ Sanders, and ‘Curly’ Neal.
So it was with expectation that I went to the game tonight. When I arrived there was an emcee and a mascot working the crowd. It was evident this was as much an entertainment production as a sporting event, for when the 7:00pm gametime arrived neither team was on the court. The Washington Generals appeared first. Their coach took the mic from the emcee and proceeded to talk a little trash (about State College and the Globetrotters). It reminded me of a WWF event. It was obvious that his job was to villainize the Generals.
After the emcee got the mic back the Globtrotters took the floor. They emerged through a cloud of smoke. Sweet Georgia Brown started playing, and the players formed a circle to put on a ball-handling display.
When it came time to start the game one of the Globetrotters substituted a helium-filled imitation of a basketball, which ended up at the ceiling of the BJC during the opening tip.
The game was interrupted for all sorts of pranks and comedy routines. Several players were wearing mics on court. Numerous times in the game the Generals coach busted out an umbrella and hypnotized a Globetrotter player to control his actions.
At another point a foul call resulted in an impromptu eye exam for a referee.
A local weatherman played for the Generals as number 00. He played a couple of minutes, air-balling two threes and drawing one foul. At the line he sank both free throws.
When the game was being played I noticed that it was very fast. The Globetrotters used many timing plays with quick passes and half of their points were scored via dunks. Their speed coupled with poor lighting made taking pictures difficult. I have many blurry shots of various players dunking basketballs.
Late in the game the Globetrotters pulled one of their classic gags, with a player sneaking up on a General at the free-throw line and removing his shorts. The General quickly retaliated with shorts for shorts justice, revealing that the Globetrotter was wearing a pink tutu under his shorts.
The old borrowed purse routine was also pulled.
Another routine featured an “elderly” fan walking onto the court during the game. He was introduced as a great player from the 1950s. He asked to play and shuffled around slowly at first, then suddenly take a pass and slams it home. As predictable as it was, it was still quite funny to see.
The final score was 80-76, though throughout the game it was evident it was entertainment first and a basketball game second. I enjoyed the evening.