t is a truly a great time of the year of you are a basketball fan in Tulsa these days.
You have the OKC Thunder in the NBA Playoffs, the 66ers in the NBA D-League playoffs, and the Tulsa Shock ready to tip off their first WNBA season. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the devastation left by the obliteration of most everyone’s NCAA Tournament Brackets last month…stupid Jayhawks…AHEM!
Anyway, with all of that on your plate it’s nice to know that there is a team like the Harlem Globetrotters. They made a rare second appearance for one show only at the amazing BOK Center on Friday night to an enthusiastic crown of adults, kids and families.
In my previous review of the Globetrotters I focused mainly on their considerable skills as basketball players, and this time I think that it should be all about the positive qualities of the show. True enough, it was a basketball game and I am a sportswriter by trade, but this was not a traditional game where the outcome was up in the air, fortune and glory on the line, and the players on one team would win because they “wanted it more”.
As I watched Big Easy, Flight Time, Bull, and Firefly make mincemeat of the hapless Washington Generals, I could not help but notice that while the Globetrotters were doing what has made them a household name around the world they were always smiling. That’s important when you are playing to a crowd of mostly kids because as it so often happens in professional sports, players become good at their respective games and then fall rather hard from grace.
The message, if there ever was one from the Harlem Globetrotters is that you can play basketball and make people laugh and feel happy. Case in point: One of the staples of a Globetrotters show has been how the players choose kids from the audience to help them perform some of their skits.
In the 4th quarter Big Easy Lofton chose a young boy from the audience to shoot a foul shot. He missed his first attempt, and the players reacted humorously as you might expect so Easy moved the kid closer for a second attempt. The kid banked it off the rim and the Globetrotters players came off the bench and sat around the lane much like you would around a campfire. Easy moved the kid closer, and he shot an in-and-out shot, and then the Generals joined the Globetrotters from their bench and led the crowd in rhythmic clapping to urge the kid to make the shot.
He did, and he got one of Big Easy’s autographed jerseys as his reward. It was great to see the kid go back to his seat grinning from ear to ear clutching the jersey. Making kids happy and their fans happy is much more important than trouncing a fictional opponent, and that is more valuable than gold in many cases.
This reviewer has been a fan for many years but he will be back again and again to see the Globetrotters because while some will say their gags are old and worn out and repetitive, sometimes seeing something like the Harlem Globetrotters might have you forget about stats, facts and figures and just have fun for a while.
I say that while affirming that there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking sports seriously, but every once in a while you see something like a Globetrotters show and laugh despite yourself.
It makes looking at that discarded NCAA Tournament Bracket a little easier to take, that’s for sure.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle