Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7: Harlem Globetrotters

On this date in History ..... 1927:

The newly formed all-black basketball team Harlem Globetrotters played their first game in Hinckley, ILL. 

The team was formed during a time when professional basketball teams permitted only white players. The traveling Globetrotter team introduced many Midwesterners to a game they had never seen and audiences enjoyed the clowning antics and ball handing tricks which their coach encouraged them to do but only when they had a solid lead in the game.

The song “Sweet Georgia Brown”  (Click here for a clip of the Globetrotters with their theme song) was adopted as their theme song around the 1950s.  The song was first recorded in 1925 by bandleader Ben Bernie but the rendition for the Globetrotters was a 1949 instrumental by Brother Bones and His Shadows featuring whistling and (the musical instrument) bones.

Meadowlark Lemon
The team’s popularity peaked in the 1970s but began to decline after the retirement of popular player Meadowlark Lemmon. The team received a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star for their entertainment and has a permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian.  Their athletic skill was recognized in 2002 when they were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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