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  • kenpasternak

The Fabulous Magicians of Basketball are a Constant!


As a child I had a collection of 8mm films that I would show on the wall using my dad’s projector. They were only 8 minutes long and silent; state-of-the-art technology at the time. My small library consisted of early space exploration documentaries and sports films. One of the sports films that I still have is about the Harlem Globetrotters.


I saw them in person when I was 10 years old at the County Center in White Plains, New York. Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal were the stars. I had already known about them through my dad’s stories and seeing on television many times the Harlem Globetrotters film that starred Marques Haynes and Goose Tatum.


Last evening, I had the joy of accompanying my 10 years old grandson to see the Harlem Globetrotters demonstrate their basketball and comedic skills in Helsinki. They played, as always, against the hapless and very cooperative Washington Generals. There were differences from my memories, as there should be. A DJ and Emcee played a prominent role throughout the show, with up-to-date music and much dancing. Also, both teams were coed. Some of the old routines are still in use, plus a few ‘new’ ones. There was much more audience participation than I recalled, particularly bringing children and a few adults onto the court for various funny bits.


After the game the Globetrotters patiently signed autographs and posed for selfies until the last child, including my grandson, was more than satisfied.


Groucho Marx said the only constants in life are death and taxes. Today we often add ‘change’ as another constant in our lives. It is wonderful that after almost 100 years since they were established, the Harlem Globetrotters remain a constant as a troupe of Goodwill Ambassadors bringing smiles to people of all ages around the world based on a game invented in the US in 1891.


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