Valdosta Daily Times

March 13, 2013

Globetrotters visit Valdosta

Christian Malone
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Harlem Globetrotters brought their distinct brand of basketball back to Valdosta on Tuesday night, and entertained fans at The Complex.

The Globetrotters stopped in Valdosta on Tuesday, one of the stops on their 2013 You Write the Rules World Tour. It was their first visit to the city in two years.

The Globetrotters have not lost a game since 1971, and they didn’t lose in Winnersville on Tuesday (they beat a team of former college players called the Global Select 110-107). But their main goal, of course, wasn’t to win. It was to entertain — and they did that.

The Globetrotters have been entertaining crowds all over the world since 1926. Over the past 87 years, they have played more than 20,000 games in 118 countries, and have won virtually all of them.

They brought a whole bag of unique tricks to Valdosta, some of them longtime staples of their act and others newer tricks recently introduced.

In one of the team’s most famous acts, “Special K” Daley, who was miked and entertained the fans throughout the game, threw a bucket of water on one of his teammates after that teammate had thrown a cup of water at him. Then he grabbed another bucket and chased him into the stands. When Special K tried to douse him again, the other player ducked, and the contents of the bucket went all over the crowd. Luckily for the crowd, it was just confetti.

An opposing player had his shorts pulled down while he was shooting a free throw. Another opponent had his entire uniform ripped off, and was left wearing nothing but his boxers and his shoes. At one point, Special K handed the ball to a Global Select player for a free throw, but it was actually a helium balloon, not a ball, and when the free throw was taken, the balloon sailed towards the ceiling instead of towards the basket. “Hammer” Harrison dunked, then hung upside down from the rim. “Bingo” Beverly dunked over one of the referees. Bingo also showed fans a new way to block a shot when he climbed on top of the rim and kicked away a shot with his foot.

They also performed several routines with members of the audience. “Slick” Willie Shaw helped a seven-year-old girl, Maddie Yarbrough, spin a basketball on her finger. Special K stole a woman’s purse and handed it to an opposing player who was trying to defend him, before returning it to the woman in a gift box. Special K brought a boy named Roman out of the audience, challenged him to make a basket, then made him do a dance; when the boy did those things, Special K gave him a jersey.

Even the Globetrotters’ inflated mascot, Big G, put on a show, doing a dance routine that included dancing upside down and on one hand.

The Globetrotters also showcased some impressive basketball skills. They hit shots from all over the court. They made a number of impressive passes to teammates for baskets. They spun basketballs on their fingers. And they ran a number of offensive plays that only the Globetrotters would be likely to try.

One of the Globetrotters’ newest gimmicks was the You Write the Rules promotion. Fans were able to vote online, and decide on a  new rule that could be used each quarter.

The fans voted for the first and fourth quarters to be played with the Get Crackin’ four-point shot. There were four four-point circles on the court 35 feet from the basket, and if a player made a shot while standing in the circle, the shot was worth four points. “Firefly” Fisher impressed the crowd by making his first four four-point attempts, and had seven four-pointers the whole night.

In the second quarter, the voting fans decided that baskets would be worth double points, meaning the teams got two points for a free throw, four for a field goal and six for what is usually called a three-pointer. Their opponents, the Global Select, took advantage of the double points, outscoring the Globetrotters 46-26 and turning a 32-26 first quarter deficit into a 72-58 halftime lead.

The first two minutes of the third quarter were played with two basketballs. Two pink basketballs, in fact; the Globetrotters use the pink balls to promote breast cancer awareness and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. Playing with two basketballs led to some interesting plays; Hammer dunked two balls at once, Firefly held both balls at once while sitting on a teammate’s shoulders, then passed them to two different players almost simultaneously and at one point, both the Globetrotters and Global Select made layups at virtually the same time.

The Globetrotters brought one of their female players, “T-Time” Brawner, a former All-Conference college player with an MBA in global business management. She more than held her own with the boys, entertaining the crowd with a dribbling act that led to a layup and throwing an alley-oop off the glass to a teammate.

The Globetrotters wore their trademark red, white and blue uniforms, with matching patriotic-colored headbands and wristbands.

After the game, the players signed autographs for fans.

For more information on the Harlem Globetrotters, visit their website, www.harlemglobetrotters.com.