Last night, the Harlem Globetrotters made their 33rd appearance in Abilene since 1952 including their 10th in ACU’s Moody Coliseum, where their basketball schtick showed new inspiration but seemingly never grows old with fans of all ages.
Their New Rules Tour gives fans an opportunity to vote online for variations on the game, including Make or Miss (adding players to each team on the floor for every basket made, subtracting them for each missed shot), Hot Hand Jersey (player wearing it is credited with double points for each basket), Trick Shot Challenge, Six-on-Five (five Globetrotters play a six-man team) and Two-Ball Basketball (two basketballs in play at once).
Nicknames are still prevalent on the team, from 5-foot-2 “Too Tall” Hall (the shortest Globetrotter ever) to 7-foot-4 “Stretch” Middleton (the third tallest Globetrotter in history). In 2014, three of the team’s players are women.
Some of the characters who made the Globetrotters known around the world since 1929 include: Meadowlark Lemon, Fred “Curley” Neal, Hubert “Geese” Ausbie, Reece “Goose” Tatum, Marcus Haynes and Lynette Woodard (the first woman named to the team), among others. Some may recall that eventual Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain, the only NBA player to score 100 points in a single game, began his professional career as a Globetrotter in 1958; his No. 13 jersey was retired by the team in 2000.
But Lemon, also known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball,” was the face of the Globetrotters for 24 years and 16,000 games (including more than 7,500 in a row). He was last on campus in 1989, when his Harlem All Stars played in Moody Coliseum. In 2003, Lemon was inducted into basketball’s Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. Today, he is an 81-year-old motivational speaker, author and ordained minister who preaches the gospel with a mission of “changing lives, to change the world.”
You may not know that a former Wildcat center – one of the captains of the 1986-87 ACU men’s basketball team – played in 1990-91 with the Globetrotters. James “Jumping J” Joseph (’88) also played with a professional club team in Australia in 1995.
Thanks to photographer Jeremy Enlow for a look at the fun the Globetrotters brought to a large crowd in Moody last night: