BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ
The incredibly entertaining Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Los Cabos where they will play and perform at the Cabo Del Mar Sports Center for one night only on Friday, Nov. 3. Tickets went on sale last month and range between 300 pesos for general admission to as much as 1,500 in Mexican currency. The world-famous Globetrotters just finished a whirlwind European tour where they thrilled crowds with their combination of athleticism, theater, and comedy. They will entertain crowds in many cities throughout Mexico before arriving in Cabo San Lucas.
Over the years, The Globetrotters have played more than 26,000 exhibition games in over 124 countries and against deliberately ineffective opponents, such as the Washington Generals (1953–1995) and the New York Nationals (1995–2015). And by ineffective opponents, we mean staged games where the other team is also part of the hilarious antics The Globetrotters are famous for.
The Globetrotters were founded in 1926, on the South Side of Chicago, where all the original players were born and raised. The team began playing as the Savoy Big Five. In 1928, several players left the team in a dispute over money and control and later formed a new team they called the “Globe Trotters” and toured southern Illinois. Sometime thereafter, Abe Saperstein became involved as their manager and promoter. By 1929, Saperstein changed their name and called them “The New York Harlem Globe Trotters”. Saperstein selected the name Harlem because it was then considered the center of Black American culture.
Almost two decades later, the 1948 Globetrotters made headlines when they beat one of the best white basketball teams in the country, the Minneapolis Lakers. The Globetrotters continued to easily win games due to Harlem monopolizing the entire talent pool of the best black basketball players in the country. Once one of the most famous teams in the country, the Globetrotters were eventually eclipsed by the rise of the NBA.
It was Reece “Goose” Tatum, who joined the group in 1941, who introduced the hilarious comedy antics of their show and they eventually became known more for entertainment than sports. The Globetrotters’ show often features incredible coordination and skillful ball handling of one or more basketballs, such as passing or juggling balls between players, balancing or spinning balls on their fingertips, and making unusually difficult shots. And that is the style of play that has made them the world-famous Globetrotters. In 1970, CBS produced and aired 22 animation Saturday morning cartoon episodes created by Hanna-Barbera.
In 1959, the Globetrotters played nine games in Moscow, where they met Premier Nikita Khrushchev and received the Athletic Order of Lenin medal, and by 1976, Metromedia announced that it would re-acquire the Globetrotters for $11 million dollars from Globetrotter Communications.
The Globetrotters signed their first female player, Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard, in 1985. Orlando Antigua became the first Hispanic player on the team in 1995. He was the first non-black player on the Globetrotters’ roster since Bob Karstens played with the squad in 1942-43.
And while parts of a modern exhibition game are pre-planned, the games themselves are not fixed. Per Wikipedia, their opponents do not interfere with the Globetrotters’ hijinks while on defense and play a serious game when in possession of the ball. In June 2021, the Globetrotters filed a petition to join the National Basketball Association (NBA) as an expansion franchise. This 2023/2024 World Tour is presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs. For more information and to purchase tickets visit their website, https://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/.