The Harlem Globetrotters made a visit to Youngstown to do a couple of shows at the Covelli Centre. The well-known ambassadors of goodwill amused the crowd of about 3,000 with their time tested tricks and some new twists. Gone are Geese Ausby, Curly Neal, and Meadowlark Lemon. This era of traveling hoopsters are known by names like Big Easy, Firefly and Scooter. They sound more like Muppets than basketball players, but when the tricks and skills start, these guys can really play.
The victims are still the Washington Generals, winners of only two games against the Globetrotters in the 85-year existence of the traveling franchise. The Generals remind all Cavs fans that there is a team out there that is worse than what is being displayed in Cleveland these days.
The new-era Globetrotters pulled all of the old tricks out of the bag. The three-man weave (above), the buckets of water and confetti, plenty of dunks, the constant spinning of a ball on a finger, and the thievery of the fans refreshments. The magical act never gets old and is still one of the only entertainment ventures that brings joy to all ages.
The new wrinkles put into the act were good and fresh concepts. Big Easy served as a frontman. He roamed the court with a wireless microphone and made very smooth transitions from skits back to game action. The wireless mic is a good technological advancement and enhanced the bits. The other innovation was the creation of a “four-point shot” (below). The four-pount shot is a circle located between the three-point line and half court. There are four four-point circles placed even distances from the hoop, 35 feet to be exact which is 12 feet farther than an NBA three.
WFMJ-21 Sports Anchor Mike Ackelson was an honorary Washington General. There will be a complete story here on Ack’s experience as a guest player later in the week. Big Easy walked Ackelson through a fun-filled journey from one end of the court to the other.
The other interesting feature was the amount of different styles of dunks. There were tomahawks, alley-oops, backboard-pass slams, fast breaks, reverses, you name it, they covered it.
Abe Saperstein turned his dream loose in 1926 with his creation of The Harlem Globetrotters. This team actually originated in Chicago and have played a remarkable 25,000 + exhibition games all over the world for Popes and Presidents, for the rich and the poor. One thing that has remained consistent over the duration of their storied history has been the ability to amaze with skills and to make people smile. There were plenty of smiles to go around Youngstown for a day.