The Warriors are the Globetrotters

June 7th, 2018

 

Harlem Globetrotter Goose Tatum

 

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I never tire of watching the Golden State Warriors play basketball at their best — great passing, intense defense, and near-impossible and timely long distance shots (almost comical, in fact) made by compelling and mostly likable personalities.   Their popularity is not limited to the San Francisco Bay area — their following is worldwide.   According to ESPN, “the first two games [of this year’s NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland] peaked at more than 21 million viewers in the U.S. alone, and there were 50 million watching in China…This is basketball at its highest level in its highest profile.”

While much of this immense audience can be attributed to the participation of the larger-than-life figure of Cleveland’s LeBron James (basically a “superhero” on the court), the consistently brilliant play of the Warriors over the last four seasons has revolutionized the game of basketball, so much so that it is easy to be reminded of the Harlem Globetrotters when watching them.  Like the Trotters, they make watching basketball fun.

In Spinning the Globe, Ben Green’s terrific 2005 biography of the Globetrotters, he wrote that they “were not just a great barnstorming team; they were a sociology class on wheels, bringing black hoops and black culture to a hundred Midwestern towns that had seen neither, and in the process transforming Dr. James Naismith’s stodgy, wearisome game — which was still sometimes played in chicken-wire cages by roughneck immigrants with flailing elbows and bloodied skulls, a sport more resembling rugby — into an orchestration of speed, fluidity, motion, dazzling skill, and most improbably, inspired comedy.”  While the Warriors are not a “sociology class on wheels” like the Trotters were, they are transforming the way the game is played, growing the audience for it, and revolutionizing the sport along the way.  

If, like me, you are in a basketball frame-of-mind, I encourage you to check out the 2005 interview I conducted with Green on the Globetrotters, which can be read by clicking here.  Meanwhile…no matter the outcome of this year’s finals (looks like another Warriors championship), you can bet the audience will be watching — and entertained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In This Issue

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

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In the previous issue

The question “What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?” was posed via email to a small number of prominent and diverse people, and the responses of Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who participated...Also, the publication of the winning story in our 50th Short Fiction contest; an interview with Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell; a collection of jazz poetry; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; the March edition of "On the Turntable," and lots more...Click here to be taken to the issue.

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