The Harlem Globetrotters beat the World All-Stars 104-95 at Branch Rickey Arena on Jan. 21, but more important than the victory was how they dazzled 2,000 new fans in Delaware.
“Every year, we try to bring new innovations to basketball,” said showman Kevin “Special K” Daley before the game. Recently, the Globetrotters introduced the 35-foot 4-point shot, and for the game in Delaware, played with three new rules.
The first quarter rule change was the trick shot challenge. The All-Stars coach had three challenges he could issue the Globetrotters in a quarter. He would ask them to do such things as pass with their feet and then dunk. If they made the shot, they got 5 points; if they missed, the All-Stars got the 5 points.
The rule proved so popular the fans picked it to be used in the fourth quarter, too. The last challenge was to have an audience member make a shot, and a 10-year-old named Andre was clutch in helping to seal the win.
In the second quarter, each team started with two players. If they made a shot, they added a player; and if they missed, that player left the court. The Globetrotters quickly got up to five players, but trailed at halftime, 50-48.
The third quarter rule change was the Hot Shot Jersey, where anyone wearing the orange shirt scores double points. Aundre “Hot Shot” Branch and Kevin “Turbo” Pearson wore the jerseys for the Globetrotters and had them leading 79-78 at the end of the third 10-minute period.
Among the other Globetrotters playing were 5-foot, 2-inch Jonte “Too Tall” Hall, Tammy “T-Time” Brawner, John “Jet” Williams, Chris “Handles” Franklin, Jonathan “Hawk” Thomas, William “Bull” Bullard, Roman “Doc” Turmon, and Anthony “Biggie” McClain from the University of Cincinnati.
The team trotted out many of its popular gags, such as the water trick where some fans end up getting covered in confetti; an “air” ball; making fun of the referee’s bald head and potbelly; taking a woman’s purse and giving it back to her as a gift; offering used socks to a little girl as a gift; standing on the rim; complaining about foul shots; and repeating a play for the referee in live instant replay and then in exaggerated slow-motion.
The All-Stars were good sports, because they were often on the receiving end of the Globetrotters’ antics, such as the player who was sent scurrying when his shirt and pants were removed. The All-Stars also proved to be good shots, and actually led much of the game. Or perhaps the Globetrotters let them lead.
Prior to the tip-off, the Globetrotters took to the court, gathered in a circle, spun the ball on their fingers, dribbled and passed the ball around to the tune “Sweet Georgia Brown.” At other times, they danced to “Blurred Lines,” “YMCA” and “Gangnam Style.” They had two mascots, Globie and Big G – the latter an inflatable dancer.
The game was also stopped for quick competitions featuring sponsors Wonderful Pistachios, Howard Johnson’s, and Greyhound. Special K also said he sponsored a child through World Vision.
To start the second half, the team ran between Boy Scout Troop 284. After the game, the players signed autographs. And those who cheered loud enough at other times were thrown merchandise, such as Globetrotter sweatbands.