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HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS

The Harlem Globetrotters were created by Abe Saperstein in 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. The team adopted the name "Harlem" because it represented the African-American community. The team was originally composed of the best black players in the U.S. since they were barred from playing in the leading professional leagues. They combined ability and an entertaining "comedic" routine to become perhaps the most famous basketball team of all time. Over the years it has toured more than 100 countries and played more than 20,000 exhibition games, mostly against deliberately ineffective opponents like the "Washington Generals" (1953-1995) and the New York Nationals (1995-present).

Much of the Globetrotter routine was based on comedy and featured incredible ball handling of one or more basketballs, such as spinning balls on their fingertips, passing or juggling balls between players, and making unusual and difficult shots. They became famous for their opening warm-up ball handling done to the whistling version of the popular "Sweet Georgia Brown".

Among their most famous players are Marques Haynes, George "Meadowlark" Lemon, Fred "Curly" Neal (a literally fantastic dribbler) and Reece "Goose" Tatum. Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain, Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins and Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton enjoyed brief Globetrotter careers before going on to the NBA.

The Globetrotters signed their first female player, Olympic golf medalist Lynette Woodard, in 1985.

Metromedia controlled the team during the 1970s and 1980s and featured the team in numerous television series and specials.

Former Globetrotter Mannie Jackson purchased the team in 1993 and revived the team's fortunes. The team visited Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 2000 and named the Pontiff an Honorary Harlem Globetrotter.

The teams longest winning streak was 8,829 games and now has totalled more than 22,000 victories.

In 2002 the team was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.