(Published on February 15, 2018)
Basketball’s most creative exhibition team brought their world-famous tradition of wizardry ball handling and high-flying entertainment to the Salem Civic Center on February 12.
Approximately 1,800 tickets, which ranged from $23.50 to $85.50 for courtside seats, were purchased.
Attendees saw fan favorites Spider, Hammer, Torch, Jet, Too Tall, Big Easy, Clutch, Flip and Bulldog take on their arch-rivals, the Washington Generals.
Nate Hammonds and his six-year-old son Zach arrived at the game wearing matching shirts that read, “Biggest Globetrotter Fans On The Planet.” Following the contest, they both got a chance to take pictures with some of the players.
“Some of my earliest memories with my dad were seeing the Globetrotters live,” Hammonds said. “They say the best thing about memories is making them. These are the memories with my son that I will cherish for a lifetime.”
Standing 5’2, Jonte “Too Tall” Hall is the shortest player to ever suit up for the Harlem Globetrotters. The Baltimore, Maryland, native kept fans on the edge of their seats with his pranks and basketball skills. When he jumped on the back of his teammate Nathaniel “Big Easy” Lofton to score a basket, the crowd burst into uncontrollable laughter.
Prior to the game, Hall gave a group of children some advice.
“Because of my size, people have always told me what I could and could not do,” he said. “My faith has always been stronger than the doubt of others. Always remember that when you are faced with adversity.”
Globie, the Harlem Globetrotters mascot, received a standing ovation for his halftime dance performance. There were over 50 3-pointers launched during the game as well as roughly 25 rim-rattling dunks. The Washington Generals were competitive but ultimately lost the game by double digits.
Attendee Jason Robinson on what he enjoyed the most about the game: “Looking out in the crowd and seeing people of all backgrounds and ethnicities having a great time.” Said longtime Globetrotter fan Richard Smith, 69, “Seeing these athletes put on a show never gets old. Whenever they are in town, I’m going to be there.”
According to a spokesperson, more than 600 children attended the game. Big Easy’s hope was “for each child to see something so amazing they tell all of their friends in school.”
Since 1929, the Harlem Globetrotters have participated in more than 26,000 exhibition games in approximately 120 countries and territories. All signs point to the Harlem Globetrotters returning to the Salem Civic Center next year.