The nostalgia of the Globetrotters

Dave Emrich

The Harlem Globetrotters have been a mainstay of family entertainment since 1926. Practicing exhibition games, the Globetrotters are referred to as a barnstorming team – a sports team that travels to various locations, usually small towns, to stage exhibition matches, and operates outside of a formal league.

Two days before Valentine’s day, the Globetrotters stormed the barn of the Aud, bringing along their long time rivals. The Globetrotters faced off against the Washington Generals to extend their winning streak that was last broken on Jan. 5, 1971 when the Generals defeated the Globetrotters 100-99. The game in ‘71 was one of the biggest upsets in fixed sports history, outshining even the infamous WWF Montreal Screwjob of 1997, or last year’s defeat of the Undertaker’s 21-0 streak at Wrestlemania.

The Globetrotters participated in their usual family friendly antics – such as the “bucket of water” gag, the “slow motion replay” gag and alley-oop, after alley-oop, after alley-oop, to be up by 9 points with just over a minute left. However, the Generals, employing traditional heel tactics, almost brought the Globe- trotters to their knees. This occurred when one of the officials revealed him- self to be one of the former players for the Generals, and awarded Washing-

ton 9 points to tie up the game with only seconds to spare. However, Big Easy, captain of America’s favourite basketball team and host of the show, sunk a half court, hook shot, buzzer beater to put the Globetrotters up 82- 79, extending their win streak to yet another game.

The historic franchise has played over 20,000 exhibition games in over 120 countries. With their famous soundtrack of Brother Bones’ whistled rendition of “Sweet Georgia Brown” and decked out in their traditional
red and white striped trunks and blue jerseys, the Globetrotters are arguably the most famous sports franchise to not exist in any sort of formalized league.

Impressively maintaining themselves as a team for over three quarters of a century, the Globetrotters, al- though claiming to hail from the New York City neighbourhood of Harlem, actually originated from the south side of Chicago. Disguising themselves as a professional sports team, the Globetrotters’ main competition is not with the NBA or any other major sports leagues, but with other travel- ling forms of entertainment that date back, arguably, even further than the Globetrotters storied history – such as circuses, carnivals and wrestling.

The Globetrotters have maintained an impressive record of wins over the years, with their last calculated win percentage being at the .985 mark, when they recorded 22,000 wins on Feb. 27, 2006, and having only 345 re- corded losses. On Feb. 12, 2015, at the Kitchener Auditorium, the Globetrotters extended that impressive historic record even further.