About four thousand people came out Thursday night for a display of basketball skills, along with a good dose of comedy, as the Harlem Globetrotters played at Michigan City High School.
Pat Reynolds, of Michigan City, remembers Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal and the other famous Globetrotters from the 1970s, and brought his wife, Wendy, and son, Connor, 11, to see the new roster of players in their familiar red, white and blue outfits.
"I've always wanted to see them when I was a kid," said Reynolds while embracing a red, white and blue Harlem Globetrotters basketball purchased from the concession stand.
Weather and traffic caused the Globetrotters to be about 30 minutes late on their trip from Rushville, where they played the previous night. But that didn't stop the pre-game mingling with the fans, who got a chance to meet the players and shoot layups.
"It was pretty awesome. I didn't know I could do it," said Tannah Niemann, 13, of New Buffalo, after a player dubbed Too-Tall spun a basketball on her index finger.
Jerry Cooley brought his two granddaughters, Delaney and Leah, both 10, who attend Riley Elementary School in LaPorte.
"We're having a great time," said Cooley.
The Globetrotters quickly fell behind the World All-Stars — coached by former Chicago Bulls player Sam Worthen — by seven points but evened the score on a few brilliant slam dunks and a four-point shot from 35 feet by Too-Tall.
Player Kevin "Special K" Daley wore a wireless microphone and drew laughter with good-natured jokes about the opposing players and referees while making flashy behind-the-back passes.
Barry Hardy, head coach of the Globetrotters and a former player for the team, said not much has changed with the team over the years except for the faces and the athletic skills of the players.
"It's the best job in the world," said Hardy, who said the Globetrotters are just as much about basketball as they are about providing wholesome entertainment for families.
"It's so amazing these guys can change the lives of people around the world every single night and I get to see that," Hardy said.
Shawn Popplewell came with her husband, Roger, and children Riley and Brandt, ages 13 and 16.
She said it was worth the trip from their home near Union Mills despite the wintry conditions.
"I'm just really excited to see them. It's really cool," said Riley, a member of the South Central High School girls basketball squad. "I'll take some notes and hopefully learn some new moves."