where each player demonstrates their unique basketball- handling skills to the tune of “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
“There’s somanydifferent plays thatwe run, but themostimportant thing is pulling people out onto the court. There is a lot of crowdparticipation,” Blakes said.“Thebest thing, forme, is tomeetthe fans after the game to sign autographs. ... Weknowthat kids look upto us. Wedon’tmindbeing role models.”
People also can purchase the “Magic Pass,” which is a pre- game eventwhere participants can shoot hoops, learn tricks and take photos with the Globetrotters.
“We put out a big uniform— one of my teammateswears a size 20 shoe— and kids basically drown themselves in the uniforms to take pictures,” Blakes added.
Not only does the team performfor families across the globe, but they also become invested in each community they travel to through their many partners.
Blakes is one of the team’sAmbassadors of Goodwill, workingwith children around theworld through outreach organizations. That includes SPIN, or Some Playtime Is Necessary, which promotes physical activity; “CHEER ( Cooperation, Healthy Mind and Body, Effort, Enthusiasm, Responsibility) for Character” and the Smile Patrol, forwhich players visit children in hospitals.
Last fall, he traveled to Lithuania and Estonia as part of theU. S. State Department’s SportsEnvoy program, where he and teammate Ace Jackson presented the team’s renowned anti- bullying programand conducted basketball clinics for thousands of kids.
“Iwould saymy favorite part is getting to see thewholeworld and having a positive impact at the same time,” Blakes said. “Most people love to give back, but their jobs don’t allow. They have to wait until they get off work to volunteer, or do something for charity.
“I get a chance to give back each and every moment I step out on the basketball court, no matterwhere in theworld I am.”