GARY | Donning a white basketball jersey adorned with bright yellow stitching with the number “00”, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson wasn’t hesitant to get on the basketball court at the Genesis Center with other players towering over her.
It was all in good fun, however, as Freeman-Wilson was a one-time member of the Global Select team that tours with the Harlem Globetrotters around the United States.
Showing that she has some background in playing basketball, including four years at Roosevelt and a year at Harvard, Freeman-Wilson entered in the second quarter of the Globetrotters’ tour stop at the Genesis Center on Wednesday with a bright smile and laughter during her appearance.
With the Globetrotters allowing her to shoot uncontested, Freeman-Wilson made a layup and free throw, eliciting a thunderous round of applause when she made the shots, and an even bigger one when she returned to the Global Select bench.
“It was a blast,” Freeman-Wilson said. “This is obviously basketball, but certainly there’s a comedic aspect to it. I enjoyed it.”
Freeman-Wilson was asked to be on the Global Select team by promoter Jewell Harris Jr. but was more interested in the effect the Globetrotters had on the community -- saying it was one of the largest crowds she had ever seen fill the Genesis Center.
“We are excited they are here,” Freeman-Wilson said of the Globetrotters. “People are obviously here from the city of Gary, but they are also here from all of Northwest Indiana. It’s a quality family event. You see people here with their children, and seniors.”
When Freeman-Wilson first learned of the Globetrotters tour stop in Gary, it was looked upon as a very good opportunity to bring the city of Gary and surrounding communities together.
“It’s important for us to deal with aspects of entertainment and recreation for our community,” she said. “That really goes in with having a great quality of life.”
Fatima Maddox, the ninth woman to ever wear a Globetrotters uniform and the first in 20 years, made her first trip to Gary and was impressed by the crowd.
“It’s been a pleasure being here, they have great fan,” said Maddox, who goes by the nickname of “TNT” on the court. “They’re very positive and the support has been tremendous.
"We’re having a great, great time.”