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Harlem Globetrotters let fans ‘Rule’ on latest tour

Kev'Special K' Daley dunks ball during recent Harlem Globetrotters game. The team performs Allstate ArenDec. 28 Genesis Center Gary Jan.

Kevin "Special K" Daley dunks the ball during a recent Harlem Globetrotters game. The team performs at the Allstate Arena on Dec. 28 and at the Genesis Center in Gary on Jan. 23, 2013.

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If you go

What: Globetrotters, a traveling basketball team created in 1927 that specializes in trick shots and other basketball related fun.

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 23; doors open at 6 p.m.

Where: Genesis Convention Center, 5th and
Broadway, downtown Gary

Tickets: $50 courtside, $25 VIP, $20 lower level general admission, $12 upper level general admission; call (866) 468-3401 or visit www.ticketweb.com.

Updated: January 29, 2013 6:11AM



The Harlem Globetrotters are just that — globe-trotters. During the course of their new tour, which kicked off Dec. 26 and runs through May 5, 2013 the team will visit 45 states, nine Canadian provinces and eight other countries; more than 300 games will be played.

Their “You Write the Rules” tour stops in the Chicago area with games at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., and 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary.

It’s a new concept for the team that allows ticketholders to visit www.harlemglobetrotters.com and choose the rules the team will play by for the game they are attending. Choices include two-ball basketball, double-the-points, four-point shot (35 feet from the basket), a penalty box for fouls or six-on-five (that’s six opponents to five Globetrotters). With the team playing two games in Rosemont, the rules could be different for each game — depending on how fans vote.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said has said she will suit up and play with the Globetrotters for their performance in Gary if 5,000 attend. Freeman-Wilson, at 5-foot-1, played basketball at Roosevelt High School in Gary and her freshman year at Harvard University.

Although the Globetrotters’ Gary visit is a month away, tickets are available at www.ticketweb.com or by calling 866-468-3401.

“There are many great activities going on in Gary,” said Freeman-Wilson. “This is a family event that we want to see everyone support, and I’m willing to bring my basketball skill out of retirement to fill up the arena.”

Players weigh in

Kevin “Special K” Daley, who’s been with the Globetrotters nine years, said he’s “definitely enjoying” the “You Write the Rules” concept it’s been well received. Daley’s favorite rule is two-ball basketball.

Teammate Paul “Tiny” Sturgess, a relative newbie in his second year with the team, agrees.

“It’s a lot different from a normal basketball game,” said Sturgess, who at 7 feet 8 inches is the tallest Globetrotter in history. “It’s a lot of fun for the fans to see that, and their reaction really gets us going.”

Together, the two make the team international from within — Daley hails from Panama City, Panama, and Sturgess from Loughborough, England. Daley holds dual citizenship in Panama and the United States; Sturgess is here on a visa. Both guys went to school in the United States, and both dreamed of playing professional basketball. Making the Harlem Globetrotters’ roster fulfilled those dreams.

“Where I am today is really where I’m supposed to be,” Daley said, “especially since I’ve been here for nine years!”

Expect to hear a lot from him on the court. As the team showman (think George “Meadowlark” Lemon from bygone days), Daley wears a microphone, and as the team comedian, he patters throughout the game.

“The Globetrotters play competitive basketball but we also do a lot of comedy, have a lot of fun,” he said. “We don’t really care much about the actual points. Yes, we want to win and we do win. But what we really care about the most is making sure that the fans have a good time, enjoy themselves — that they’re laughin’.”

Given Sturgess’ height, dunking and rebounding are among his key duties. The Globetrotters were the first team to provide him with the opportunity to play competitive round ball, and he’s “enjoying every moment of it. It’s a great honor to be a part of the prestigious history that surrounds the Globetrotters,” he added. “I mean, they’ve been around for 87 years, so it’s great for me to be a part of that. I get to travel the world with them; not too many people can say that.”

Ticketholders usually have two opportunities to meet the Globetrotters during a game — something Daley and Sturgess treasure, especially since both plan to work with kids when they hang up their shoes (though Daley said that’s not happening until he’s 85). Following almost every game, the Globetrotters remain on the court so that fans can get autographs and have photographs taken.

Jennifer Burklow is a local freelance writer.



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