Look out Hotminuters, the Harlem Globetrotters have come to town, bringing their skill, razzle-dazzle and own brand of court humour to that timeless arena that is Wembley.
Having never been to a ‘Harlem Globies’ show before I didn’t really know what to expect. I had hoped it would be an all-star exhibition game of sorts, full of competitiveness combined with the undiluted tension of an NBA play off game but this was not the case. What I did get was good all round entertainment for the family (it’s shame I didn’t have the family). I think the kids will love this and by the looks of things those that were there did. The Harlem boys had them in stitches the whole time, and to their credit they engaged and interacted with the audience extremely well, even managing to make a spectacle of a few parents in the process, which is always fun.
If you have never seen the Globetrotters, or know little about them you will be in for a treat. Apart from the game which is action packed, there are a number of side shows constantly unfolding. A quick glance at my notepad and next thing I find a Globetrotter casually hanging on the rim, only coming down after a sensational run ended in a spectacular slam dunk! The match official warned the player to stop fooling around or else be sin binned, his rebuttal “What I was just hanging out”. I also liked the bonus feature of the 4 point shot. Within the last minute of each quarter the players had the chance to shoot from four marked zones on the court (all were quite a long distance from the basket). Nevertheless the Globies and their opposition hit the four point shots with repeated ease.
Some of the skills on display were breath taking. Slam dunks, ally oops, backs flips, you name it they can do it.One of my favourite moments was when they pulled a kid out of the crowd and told him they would give him a prize if he could mimic one of three players. One player did a silly little dance which was easy to replicate. Another a spot of break dancing; windmills, the worm and all. Finally the appropriately named ‘Flip’ dazzled the audience with a series of high energy back flips and somersaults, that an Olympian would have been proud of. No points for guessing which option the boy took.
For those who weren't there with the ‘wife and kids’ I could understand why they may have felt a little disappointed. The game was clearly fixed so that the Globies would win, albeit that they haven’t lost an exhibition game (or championship game as they call it) in over 50 years .... really? Being family fueled, the game lacked the aggression, passion and intensity of an NBA game. The general ethos from the few members of the audience I spoke to was that the overall production could have been a bit more up market. For example there were no strobe lighting extravaganza’s and the sound system was average at best. In terms of the music it was suggested to me by an unnamed member of the audience, that someone had just brought along their favourite CD and played it on loop! I however thought that was a bit harsh, yes I heard the same tracks 3 or 4 times that night but they were a fusion of some classic and new school Hip Hop, RnB, Dance and Pop tracks. They even played YMCA and had the crowd join in. Sadly I didn't get to take part as I was too busy taking notes, oh well, maybe next time.
Overall there is no doubt that the Harlem Globetrotters are a talented bunch of individuals. Some of the skills on display were breath taking. Slam dunks, ally oops, backs flips, you name it they can do it. No doubt a few of these guys if not all could play in the NBA. So here’s to Flip, Tiny (who is actually 7feet tall) and the rest of the crew. Thanks for the memories boys Hotminute salutes!!
Words: Tunde O
Photography: Ernest Simons