Actors, comedians, goodwill ambassadors, professional athletes; all these terms describe one group of individuals, The Harlem Globetrotters. The Harlem Globetrotters started in the early 1920’s by 24 year old Abe Saperstein. They were originally called the “Savoy Big Five” (after the famous Chicago’s Savoy Ballroom) and originally were a competitive team much like those in the NBA today. The name was changed to the New York Harlem Globetrotters because Harlem was considered to be the center of African- American culture and Saperstein felt it would give the team more of a mystique. The name was eventually shortened to what it is today. Over the years they have performed in over 120 countries and territories on six continents. While the Globetrotters are talented basketball players they are also role models and are involved in several outreach, character building, and children’s’ fitness programs. One of their programs is their annual Summer Skills Clinic located at 24 Hour Fitness centers across the country. The Clinics are open to boys and girls between the ages of 6 to 12 and last a week running Monday through Sunday with two, two hour sessions each day. The Harlem Globetrotter clinics are done in several cities besides Las Vegas and foster good community relations and goodwill, as well as promoting camaraderie and friendship among the children who attend the clinics.
Circles Magazine got to visit one of these clinics and even got to interview one of the team members, Cheese Chisholm. 26 year old Cheese Chisholm is from New York and he impressed us by twirling a ball on his finger and answering questions at the same time. Cheese, who has been with the team for 3 years, has played basketball since he was a kid and even played for Ball State in Indiana. He told us he “loves basketball” and that playing for the Globetrotters is a great living. Cheese also loves to travel and playing for the team has taken him to 25 countries around the world. His family is undoubtedly proud of him and Cheese says “My father can’t state enough of how proud he is of me being a Harlem Globetrotter.” Cheese tells us that the way of the Globetrotters is practice, practice, practice, but when he has spare time he likes to read, listen to music, and eat buffalo hot wings.
When asked about the equipment they use we learned that the basketballs they use are made by the same company the makes NBA basketballs, Spalding, and that they wear custom made Globetrotter sneakers. We also learned that the Globetrotter’s theme song is Sweet Georgia Brown, which you hear at all of the Globetrotter games and that their current coach is six foot ten “Sweet Lou” Dunbar who played for the University of Houston from 1972-1975. Some of the Harlem Globetrotters famous alumni include Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain and George “Meadowlark” Lemon. After the interview we stayed to watch the clinic, Cheese Chisholm was joined by Scooter Christiansen. Scooter is a two time Guinness Book of Records holder, one for longest time spinning a ball on his head and one for longest time spinning a ball on his nose. They performed a few Globetrotter basketball tricks
and did stretching exercises to make sure all the children were properly loosened up and ready to play ball. After that they organized the children into two groups, one for each Globetrotter. Each group learned a drill for dribbling, passing and shooting. They also they learned the proper way to handle the ball. Both Cheese and Scooter stressed that each child should have proper hydration and clothing while working out and playing. These gifted players giving up their time for these children shows that they are truly awesome and down to earth, and they are amazing with a basketball.