The distinctive sounds of “Sweet Georgia Brown” will be heard in Southern California this month as the Harlem Globetrotters mark their annual West Coast visit. Along with hearing that familiar tune (the team’s signature song since the early ’50s), fans will be treated to the team’s major hoops skills and on-court antics. This year marks a special tour for the Globetrotters, as the team is celebrating its 90th anniversary.
Fact: the Harlem Globetrotters were not formed in Harlem, or even in New York City. They first came to together in the Chicago area. Their legendary manager/promoter Abe Saperstein dubbed them the “New York Harlem Globe Trotters” as a marketing hook for this barnstorming team formed when the NBA was still decades away from integrating. The Globetrotters have played in more than 100 countries on six continents, but didn’t actually have a “home game” in Harlem until 1968.
As part of the 90th anniversary world tour, team members will be sporting retro-style jerseys to honor their history. They will also be honoring two team legends (and Basketball Hall of Famers) who passed away in the last year: Marques Haynes and Meadowlark Lemon (the player who introduced me and millions of others to the magic of the Harlem Globetrotters).
The Globetrotters’ timeless mix of showmanship and basketball continues to delight new generations of fans. You can see them play at the Honda Center (2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim) at 1 and 7 p.m. Feb. 13 and 2 p.m. Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 and 22 at the Saddleback College Gym (28000 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo), at 2 and 7 p.m. Feb 20 at Citizens Business Bank Arena (4000 Ontario Center, Ontario) and at 12:30 and 5:45 p.m. Feb. 21 at Staples Center (1111 S. Figueroa St. L.A.). Prices range from $17 to $263 per ticket. For ticket information, visit www.harlemglobetrotters.com.