Globetrotters Prepare to Hit the Gem City
Of all of this nation's great ambassadors, few manage to bring as much joy and entertainment to faces young and old as the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. Now, this outrageously talented team of hoopsters has set their sights on a new destination-- Quincy, IL.
According to the Globetrotters official website, the group was started in 1926 in the part of New York City known as Harlem as the "Savoy Big Five". After changing their name to "The Harlem New York Globetrotters" the next year, the touring team played their first public game in Hinkely, Illinois. Their first tour took them across the northern Midwest. The tours to come in the early 30's would expand out to the western states.In those early years, it is said that sometimes young coach Abe Saperstein would have to suit up and play in place of injured players.
However, the Globetrotters were not always known for the on-the-court antics and sports comedy they display today. That factor of the equation came in 1941 with the signing of Reese "Goose" Tatum. The peculiarity of the team increased in '46 when Boid Buie, a one-armed man, joined the team and averaged eighteen points a game. And that catchy tune of theirs we all hear today, "Sweet Georgia Brown" did not become the classic Globetrotters theme until 1952.
Dining into the mid-1950's, the team's popularity exploded. They managed their 5,000th career win in Beirut, Lebanon in 1955 and, by the next year, had four different teams all touring at once playing every day of the week. The Globetrotters were world-renowned by this point, even playing for the Pope in Vatican City near the end of the decade. Strangely however, with all of their international hype and fame, the Harlem Globetrotters never actually played a game in Harlem until 1968. In the mid 70's, the team was officially recognized as "America's Ambassadors of Good Will" by President Ford. Over the course of the following decades, they would perform for world leaders, armed forces, yet another pope, and massive crowds. Since 1982, the Globetrotters remain the only sports team to have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The rest is a history full of record-setting performances, basketball games in brand new nations, the first female players in franchise history, and yes, plenty of the razzle dazzle and fast-paced foolery which made the Globetrotters who they are today.
All of that history and talent comes to Quincy's Pepsi Arena on the campus of Quincy University January 4th at 7pm. See the Globetrotters website for ticket details and be there to celebrate 90 years of good will and great basketball!