The basketball team the Harlem Globetrotters came to life in 1926 at a time when African-Americans did not yet play in the National Basketball Association. It was largely their high level of play and service as goodwill ambassadors that led to the integration of the NBA in 1950 when team member Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton signed with the New York Knicks. Founded by Abe Saperstein, the team played its first away game on January 7, 1927, in Hinckley, Illinois. It began more than 90 years of competition in 123 countries and territories. As basketball’s original goodwill ambassadors, they have introduced basketball to many who had never seen it played. They toured Russia in 1959 during the height of the Cold War and played in Berlin, Germany in 1951 when the country was still divided by a massive wall. Following that trip, the US State Department named them "ambassadors of extraordinary goodwill." Grab your tickets today from StubHub so you do not miss a second of this exciting basketball action.
Where do the Harlem Globetrotters play these exhibition games?
This basketball team continues to travel the world, making about 400 appearances per year. Some of these appearances are exhibitions, and others are competitions. These games range from major event centers like the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghampton, NY, to high school stadiums.
What maneuvers did the Harlem Globetrotters invent or popularize?
In 2010, the Harlem Globetrotters invented the four-point shot that takes place nearly 7 feet beyond the three-point arc used by the NBA. The four-point shot is made from 30 feet from the basket. The team popularized the fast break, the slam dunk and the figure-eight weave plus the positions of forward and point guard.
How many world championships have the Harlem Globetrotters won?
The Harlem Globetrotters won the World Basketball Championship in 1940 by defeating the Chicago Bruins. Although the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers won the Championship in back to back years of 1948 and 1949, the Globetrotters beat both teams when they competed. This in part broke the race barrier in basketball since the Globetrotters were an all-African-American team and the Lakers were an all-Caucasian team. The two wins exerted significant social influence that the players also carried off the court. The following year, one of the Globetrotters became the first African-American to play in the NBA.
What accolades have the Globetrotters received?
Besides the recognition bestowed upon them by the US State Department, the Harlem Globetrotters’ players have set 21 distinct world records. In 2000, Globetrotter Michael "Wild Thing" Wilson dunked the ball on a 12-foot hoop during Final Four weekend. In 2002, the team received the highest honor in the sport of basketball – induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The Naismith has also inducted 13 people with ties to the Harlem Globetrotters inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
What is the Globetrotters win/loss record?
Since the team has only drafted the best available players throughout its history, it has amassed a jaw-dropping win/loss record. The Harlem Globetrotters have won 27,000 games and lost 345 games during their nine decades as a team. The team holds the record for the best winning percentage (.987) in professional sports history.
What famous players have played for the Globetrotters?
Some of the most famous and most inspiring players have made the Globetrotters rosters. Standout players include Wilt Chamberlain, whose first pro season was with the team; Reece "Goose" Tatum who played with team during two long stints after playing pro baseball and Tennessee State basketball star Boid Buie, who lost one arm in an accident as a teenager, went on to play NCAA basketball, serving as captain of Tennessee State his senior year. Drafted by the Globetrotters, he played nine seasons as a pro, averaging double-digit scoring in all games he played. During the 1970s, the Globetrotters rocketed to worldwide fame due to the convergence of a number of superstar basketball players that signed with them. Chamberlain returned to the team and joined Marques Haynes, "Sweet" Lou Dunbar, Meadowlark Lemon, Fred "Curly" Neal and others. In more recent years, the Globetrotters integrated women into their ranks, not as a separate team, but welcoming women as equal players. When the team drafted Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard in 1985, she became the first female to play on a professional men’s basketball team. Her performances playing alongside her fellow basketball players broke barriers that lead to the establishment of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The Globetrotters continue to draft both genders including Chriss ‘Ace’ Jackson.Back to Top