The Harlem Globetrotters, the 87-year-old theatrical basketball phenomenon that still has crowds ducking when a pail full of confetti (thought to be water) is thrown toward the audience, are living up to their name. Although they were in New York City this week (for one night only) to help inaugurate the Barclays Center in Brooklyn (the first time they ever played in the borough!), the Globetrotters are off to amaze fans in the Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Germany until April 2013. Good physical comedy doesn’t need interpretation.
One of the Harlem Globetrotters’ biggest fans is German-born former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Between receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (1973) and being presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ford (1977), Kissinger was named the first honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters (1976). Standing on an eight-inch platform to receive a team uniform from the players, he admitted: “I’m not too good at the fast break, but I’m strong on defense, and, despite my height (5’4”), I’m a pretty good rebounder…my only worry is how I will look in short pants.” Some think he may also be worried about how he’ll look in history. Nelson Mandela, the Honorary Globetrotter of 1996, who for a long time traveled nowhere, is not so concerned.