Anyone who has been fortunate enough to attend a Harlem Globetrotters event knows the joy that they bring with their brand of basketball. I call it an “event” merely because it is not an actual game, although it has the structure of a game loosely built around their fun-loving antics.
I recently attended a Globetrotters performance at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY (which, for those outside of the New York area, is in Long Island). It was a cold, blustery night, but the arena was packed with people, mostly families, who were there to catch a glimpse of the legendary basketball wizards.
The Trotters were led by Big Easy, all six feet and nine inches of him. He, Dizzy, Special K, TNT, and the rest of the gang are amiable guys who treat the crowd to a pre-game warm-up the likes of which you will never see at an NBA game. Their acrobatics, impossible free throws, and good-natured banter with the crowd are a delight for all ages.
Once the “game” (which consists of very loose 10-minute quarters) begins, the Trotters (who wear wireless microphones) hassle the other team (in this case The Select) and interact with the crowd. In this match-up one short young white fellow on the opposing team was dubbed “Justin Bieber” by Big Easy, to a good deal of laughter from the crowd.
At times during a quarter the Trotters stop the action, pull people onto the court, and involve them in the game or in other activities including dancing, singing, or guessing what’s inside a box. In one instance Big Easy brought a husband and wife onto the court (at different times) and did a little “marriage counseling.” It was hilarious stuff that had nothing to do with basketball.
At halftime my family and I got another thrill: my daughter’s dance troupe (Patti Schmidt Dance Studio) performed on the court. The dancers were not intimidated by the huge crowd and moved around like they thought they were the Knicks City Dancers. Later on they all got to meet the Trotters backstage, which was a thrill of a lifetime.
By the end of the “game” there had been so many laughs, and kids of all ages had great fun. If you went to a Trotters event as a kid and haven’t seen them in a while, I suggest you check them out again. Oh, and if you have kids, bring them along because there are opportunities for them to run out on the court and get involved, and it is an overall great time for the whole family.