The Harlem Globetrotters will be doing a show Friday at the Colonial Life Arena.
But some students at Lexington’s Rocky Creek Elementary got an early visit from team member Buckets Blakes, who shared a few tricks with them in advance of Friday’s show.
The Harlem Globetrotters began in 1926 as the Savoy Big Five, named for Chicago’s famous Savoy Ballroom, according to the team’s web site. Now, 90 years and tens of thousands of games around the world later, it’s among the most recognizable sports franchises.
Here, some fun facts and events in the team’s history, from www.harlemglobetrotters.com
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Twenty-four-year-old Abe Saperstein organizes and coaches a new basketball team, “Savoy Big Five.” Among players are Tommy Brookins, Inman Jackson, Lester Johnson, Joe Lillard, Randolph Ramsey, Walter “Toots” Wright, and Bill “Ham” Watson. Wright, Byron “Fat” Long, William “Kid” Oliver, Albert “Runt” Pullins and Andy Washington – players that would define the legendary nucleus of the first Globetrotters team.
The team name is changed to the Harlem New York Globetrotters, arriving in a Model “T” Ford in Hinckley, Illinois, for their debut game in front of 300 fans. The total game payout is $75. They tour Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, playing night in and night out against any and all comers. Sometimes Saperstein is required to suit up and fill in for an injured player.
Inman Jackson creates pivot position now used by all levels of basketball.
All-time great Reece “Goose” Tatum signs with Globetrotters and develops most of the team’s classic comedy routines.
Bob Karstens becomes first white player under contract with the Harlem Globetrotters. He creates many ball handling moves used in the “Magic Circle.”
One-armed Boid Buie joins Globetrotters and averages 18 points per game. Globetrotters gain international recognition and are featured in LIFE Magazine with their .927 winning percentage, a World Championship and 3,000th game played
Robert “Showboat” Hall, master of the fast passing game and expert ball handler, joins Globetrotters.
Globetrotters compete in inaugural World Series of Basketball tour in 17 major cities in front of more than 180,000 fans against a team of college All-Stars and finish with an 11-7 record. NBA drafts Harlem Globetrotter’s Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton for $25,000 as the first African-American player in league history.
“Sweet Georgia Brown” becomes Globetrotters’ official theme song.
Saperstein contacts Louis “Red” Klotz to develop a team to oppose the Globetrotters, beginning Red’s famous teams the Washington Generals, Boston Shamrocks, Baltimore Rockets, and others.
Meadowlark Lemon begins his 25 years with the Globetrotters.
Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, one of basketball’s greatest offensive forces, joins the Globetrotters.
Hubert “Geese” Ausbie is selected to join the team from a tryout camp of more than 500 players from around the country and serves as the team’s “Clown Prince” from 1961 to 1985.
Fred “Curly” Neal begins his 22-season career with Globetrotters.
Abe Saperstein dies at age 63 during year of the Globetrotters 40th anniversary.
Globetrotters become only sports team to be honored with a star on Hollywood’s famous Walk of Fame
Harlem Globetrotters sign their first female player, Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard.
Harlem Globetrotters is acquired by first African-American to own a sports/entertainment organization, Mannie Jackson. Today, it is owned by Herschend Family Entertainment.
“Magic” Johnson signs with Globetrotters. Center Dut Mayer of Sudan, Africa signs on as the tallest Globetrotter in history at 7 feet 6 inches.
Globetrotters broadcasted on live national network ESPN2 for first time during 20,000th career game. Former Globetrotter dribbler Marques Haynes becomes first player to enter Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a Harlem Globetrotter.
Michael “Wild Thing” Wilson sets Guinness World Record with 12’ hoop dunk.
Wilt Chamberlain becomes first Globetrotter to have his jersey retired.
The jerseys of Marques Haynes and Meadowlark Lemon are retired.
Benedict College/Irmo High School alum Tydran "Crash" Beaty played with the Harlem Globetrotters in 2015.
If you go
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln St.
Tickets: $24.50 to $106.50 at www.coloniallifearena.com