For endless years the Harlem Globetrotters have wowed fans across the world with their basketball athleticism and comical on-court antics.
Gone are the days when famous players like Meadowlark Lemon and Goose Tatum would sink improbable shots and clown around with fans and referees. Though today’s stars such as Special K Daley, TNT and Too Tall Hall carry on the Globetrotter tradition, a new twist to the hoops spectacle has been added that promises to bring crowds closer to the game than ever before.
The Globetrotters’ “You Write the Rules” World Tour stops in Dawson Creek this Sunday, but before they do, fans will decide the laws of the game.
“With the “You Write the Rules” tour it’s awesome,” said 11-year veteran guard Buckets Blake by phone from Nashville, Tennessee during a PR stop. “Our fans, they feel like they get to be more involved and have some control over the game. It also keeps us on our toes.”
Fans have the liberty of dictating the rules before the ‘Trotters even take to the hardwood by voting online for their favourite rule change at www.harlemglobetrotters.com.
“There’s two basketballs on the court at the same time; playing 6-on-5; 4-point shot; double points; or getting thrown into the penalty box - which would be cool up in Canada because you guys are such big hockey fans,” laughs Buckets. “I think the fans would love that part of it where they get to influence the game.”
Buckets himself is a specialist from long range, so anytime the 4-point shot goes into effect his eyes light up.
“I’m locked and loaded, ready to shoot the 4-point shot. Anytime they vote on that one I’m ready,” he says, noting that the 4-point line measures 35 ft. from the basket, 12 more than the NBA regulation 3-pointer.
The variation on hockey’s ‘sin bin’ means all players could take a seat if called for a foul. The Globetrotters could also find themselves playing shorthanded if the 6-on-5 rule is implemented, which would bring on an extra player from the Global Selects – the all-star squad that tours with the Globetrotters.
And while the latest variation on the rules may give fans something new to cheer about, Buckets says there is still one constant that has lasted since the ‘Trotters began in the ‘20’s.
“The best part of being a globetrotter is having the opportunity to make people laugh and smile no matter what part of the world you are in,” he said. “Laughter and happiness is definitely a universal thing and that’s what the Globetrotters do night in and night out.
“The fact that we are ambassadors of goodwill, we not only do cool stuff on the court but off the court. We’ve brought people together from many walks of life using basketball as a tool,” he adds.
The Globetrotters have raised millions of dollars for charities worldwide, and on their current tour are campaigning for breast cancer awareness.
“That’s what makes us so endearing and people continue to come back. We’re giving them great stuff off the court and on the court,” says Buckets.
The “You Write the Rules” World Tour tipped-off on Dec. 26 and will run through April 2013, bringing the Globetrotters to over 240 cities across Canada and the United States, with teams playing everyday for four months straight.
Buckets says touring can be very grueling but worth every minute.
“It’s all worth it when you see the smiles on the faces of the crowd.”
The Globetrotters take to the court Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Encana Events Centre. Tip off is at 2:00 p.m.