Globetrotters draw audience into game at Show Me Center

Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Harlem Globetrotters' "Prince" Perez slam dunks the ball during the Globetrotters' game Wednesday against the Washington Generals at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. (CHRIS MACKLER)

The Harlem Globetrotters entertained an enthusiastic crowd at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau Wednesday night. Their blend of acrobatics, timing and humor had the crowd laughing, booing, clapping and dancing along with Globetrotters' coach Barry Hardy and the rest of the team.

The Globetrotters' team captain, "Big Easy" Lofton and his teammates played a four-quarter game against the Globetrotters' longtime rivals, the Washington Generals. Lofton, along with teammates "Flight Time" Lang, "Firefly" Fisher, "High Rise" Brown and others confused and frustrated the Generals with their fast passing and distraction techniques.

"There's been a couple of times where I've had trouble following the ball, they move it so fast," said Rhett Lofton of Perryville, Mo. "These guys are a lot of fun to watch, but they also really do play some tremendous basketball."

According to their records, the Harlem Globetrotters are on their way to an "84-peat," now performing in their 84th consecutive season. The Globetrotters tour the world and entertain troops abroad with USO shows. The basketball used for the second half of Wednesday's performance at the Show Me Center was the same ball used during their performance in Iraq for the U.S. troops stationed there.

The Globetrotters brought audience members, from children to moms and dads, into the game as dance partners, trick assistants and as distractions to the other team.

The Globetrotters' "Bones" Millien sits next to Saundra Hamilton of Jackson on Wednesday during the Globetrotters' game against the Washington Generals. Hamilton attended the event with her grandson, Hunter Hamilton, and family.

The Generals' coach, Joe Richmond, introduced a "secret weapon" on the Globetrotters. Booed early and often, Richmond would use his secret weapon (a "hypnotizing" umbrella) to control the Globetrotters' minds. Only by performing a stellar trick or special move could the Globetrotters bring their fellow player back to reality.

The Globetrotters also had some contests during the game, and one feature was when three young boys were chosen to help slingshot the Globetrotters' mascot, Globie, into a bowling set up made of giant Campbell's soup cans. Each strike meant the Globetrotters organization would donate $1,000 to the Labels for Education program through Campbell's. The result was three straight strikes.

"I liked when they were dancing a lot," said Dori Hefner of Jackson. "They're really funny and one guy even lost his pants!"

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