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The Friday Flashback: The Harlem Globetrotters

By Chuck Sudo in Miscellaneous on Feb 8, 2008 2:00PM

Last week we were channel surfing and came across "The Harlem Globetrotters: A New Generation" on Channel 50. We watched it for a little bit and were caught up in both the athleticism of the new Globetrotters and the timeless entertainment of their gags. It reminded us of the days when ABC's "Wide World of Sports" would showcase the team seemingly every other month.

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player to be associated with a Chicago team, but the Globetrotters are arguably the most recognizable squad to ever come out of Chicago. Originally called the Savoy Big Five, the team consisted of former students of Wendell Phillips High School brought together by Abe Saperstein as a means to draw crowds to the recently opened Savoy Ballroom at 4733 South Parkway. Saperstein eventually renamed them the "Harlem" Globetrotters because of the wide-reaching influence of the Harlem Renaissance on African-American culture at the time (an aside: the Globetrotters didn't play their first "home" game until 1968). It also flows off the tongue more freely than "Savoy Big Five" or even "Bronzeville Globetrotters."

Eighty-two years later, the Globetrotters are still going strong. Their influence on the blacktop Jesuses of AND1 leagues is undeniable. So for fans of Marques Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, Geese Ausbie, and Wilt Chamberlain (he was a Globetrotter, too), enjoy.