HAMMOND | Tens of thousands of people worldwide have been entertained by the Harlem Globetrotters, including presidents, popes and kings. On Tuesday, the Globetrotters entertained a capacity crowd at the Civic Center with their famous razzle-dazzle, acrobatic style of basketball.
Prior to their "championship" game against the International Elite, mascot Globie led a dance contest and Globetrotter "Handles" Franklin, of Harrisburg, Pa., talked about what it's like playing for the famous franchise.
"The Globetrotters are one of the few entities that have been able to cross generations, cultures and ethnicities," he said. "We travel to 120 countries and it's just amazing to be a part of an organization that connects to every member of family. We're creating memories and have an opportunity to put smiles on faces and bring families together.
"We understand the responsibilities. We have 86 years of history to hold up," Franklin said.
Nikki Companiott's parents brought her to see the Globetrotters play 40 years ago at the Civic Center. The Hammond resident was back Tuesday night with her own children, Dominic, 10, and Aidan, 8, and their friend Jack Poland, 11.
"My biggest memory that first time was when Fred "Curly" Neal climbed up the basket and put his entire body through the net," Companiott said.
Companiott said she wants her children to experience the same joy from watching the team.
"They love basketball," she said.
Dominic said he was most looking forward to "the dunks."
For the second consecutive year, the Donna Brum Dancers from Schererville performed the halftime routine for a Globetrotters game. Last year it was during the team's visit to Crown Point. On Tuesday, 34 girls and one boy entertained the audience to a performance backed by a Michael Jackson song mix.
"It's a great opportunity and a wonderful experience for them," Donna Brum coach Tracie Borowy said. "We've been rehearsing and they've been having a blast."