THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS
When the legendary Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon passed away in December 2015, the nation mourned a great sports showman. But the Globetrotters play on, much as they have since the team’s founding in 1926 in Chicago, piling up wins (25,000 and counting) while offering their unique blend of athleticism and entertainment, and performing good works off-court.
A Harlem Globetrotters game is like no other. Players delight audiences with awe-inspiring feats of coordination, trick shots and ball-handling wizardry. But being a Globetrotter requires more than razzle-dazzle, says Zeus McClurkin, a forward and Guinness World Record holder for the most slam dunks (15!) in under a minute. “One must be a great athlete, have an outgoing personality and be a good person,” he says. “For 90 years we have used these attributes to put smiles on faces all over the world.”
In fact, Globetrotters are ambassadors of goodwill who give back in every community they visit. And a growing list of philanthropists, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Nelson Mandela and Pope Francis (who was given a No. 90 jersey), have been named honorary team members.
Over the years, the team has seen big changes, including female players like Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard, who became the first in 1985. But the Globetrotters’ reputation for rim-rattling dunks and the ability to spin basketballs on their fingertips holds up as much as ever. As does their sense of humor. “One thing I am especially grateful for,” McClurkin says, “is the increased length of our shorts over the years.” Visit Parade.com/globetrotters for a gallery of photos and to find out where Globetrotter Cheese Chisholm got his nickname.