January 7: Saperstein’s Globetrotters

!BerNzZwBGk~$(KGrHqQOKiQErzLD9OnVBK-MdMiclQ~~_35The Harlem Globetrotters, owned and supervised by the British-born Abe Saperstein, played their first game on this date in 1927 in Hinckley, Illinois. Saperstein introduced the razzle-dazzle play and comedic tricks that made the Globetrotters the most famous barnstorming professional sports team in the world. At 5’5″, he is probably the shortest inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also an entrepreneur in baseball’s Negro Leagues. The Globetrotters have played more than 20,000 games in 118 countries. Among the players on the team have been Wilt Chamberlain, Connie Hawkins, and two of baseball’s star pitchers, Bob Gibson and Ferguson Jenkins. Among the people named as honorary members of the team are Nelson Mandela, Whoopie Goldberg, Jesse Jackson, and Pope John Paul II.

“You must understand as a kid of color in those days, the Harlem Globetrotters were like being movie stars.”—Wilt Chamberlain


Comments (2)

  1. I had Connie Hawkins in my history classes at Boys HS in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY. A gentle person who was unfailingly polite and easy to be with. Always sorry that he never made it big in the professional leagues. Don’t know enough about basketball to understand that lapse.
    You should do something about Mickey Fisher, Lawrence. He was coach of our basketball team, and I think was first coach of Israeli basketball team. Don’t know his dates, but some research might find out.
    Thanks for this one; I enjoyed the Globetrotters enormously. How sad that such talented men of color had to play buffoons on the court in order to earn a living.
    Blessings on Saperstein for at least providing them with some dignity in their lives.

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