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Harlem Globetrotters Show Review

I was recently invited by a relative to see a Harlem Globetrotter performance. I had little interest in going and at first declined. Then I thought about my NBA crazed 13 year old son and how he may like it. I asked him if he wanted to go, and to my surprise he did not even know who the Harlem Globetrotters were. When I briefly explained to him who they are and what they do he wanted to go. So I made the telephone call to my relative and told him to count me and my son in.

You don't have to be a basketball fan to know who the world famous Harlem Globetrotters are. The Harlem Globetrotters have been around for nearly a century so most likely they are a part of your childhood memories. All of us (except for my son) have at least seen them at one time or another on television. They are the basketball team sporting the red, white and blue striped shorts along with their blue basketball jerseys. They even have a red, white and blue basketball that they play with that has sort of become a trademark with them. If you are watching them on television you will most likely hear the team's signature song which is a whistled version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" that is performed by Brother Bones. They are basically the most popular basketball team in the world that does not play in the NBA. With that said, they are not what you would think of as a normal basketball team. They do not participate in serious competitive basketball games. Instead, the Harlem Globetrotters are performers who put on an exhibition basketball game that is mixed with athleticism, theater and comedy.

My personal childhood memories of the Harlem Globetrotters are from the early 1980s when I was a child. I remember "The Harlem Globetrotter's on "Gilligan's Island," and the "Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters" cartoon episode. There was something about the Globetrotters that made every kid like them right away. They were very funny, and you felt an instant connection with the team.

So off to the arena we went to see the Harlem Globetrotters in their 2017 tour. I was sure that most, if not all of the members of the team that I remember from the 1980s were no longer with the team. The most memorable player that I liked the most was a player by the name of Curly Neal. He was a bald headed guy and seemed to stand out from the rest of the guys. I have now found out that he retired from the team in 1985 after playing with the team for 22 years. Again, I did not think that any of the Globetrotters that I remembered would be there, but I was sure that this 2017 Harlem Globetrotter team would be just as entertaining as their predecessors.

I did not expect to see the show very good as we bought the cheapest seats available. It was $18 per ticket. When we entered the arena and found our seats I was very surprised at how good we could see the show. I thought to myself how you would have to be insane to pay $150 for the front row court-side seats. The shows starts with the Globetrotters coming on to the court doing tricks, spinning the basketball on their fingers and heads, performing fancy slam dunks and doing what they are paid to do. The globetrotters are then introduced one by one to the crowd and the fans cheer. Their opponents for the night was not the Washington Generals that I expected to see. Instead, it was a team called the World All Stars. The poor World All Stars did not even get introduced to the crowd. Then again, who cares as nobody is here to see them anyways. I have since found out that the Washington Generals are no longer a part of the Harlem Globetrotter show, and the last game that they played was in 2015. Apparently there was some contract issues. The World All Stars are now the Harlem Globetrotter's punching bags!

The spinning the ball on the finger trick is something that Harlem Globetrotters have perfected!

The basketball game started, and the first thing that I noticed was how terrible the World All Stars defense was. They just let the Harlem Globetrotters do whatever they wanted. They would just stand there with their hands up in the air. Of course this is not a real basketball game and is pure entertainment, but it is just something that I took notice of. Those more familiar with the Globetrotters will understand me when I speak of the Globetrotters interrupting the game with their comedy antics. The main Globetrotter that you noticed was a big guy named "Big Easy." Big Easy, as well as some of the other Globetrotters have a microphone attached to themselves so the crowd could hear what they are saying during the game. During their comedy skits they would argue with the referee, make fun of him and were really funny at times. They would pull down the pants of the World All Stars during the game and make fun of them as well. Very funny at times, and this was all expected at a Harlem Globetrotters show.

A Globetrotter during one of their comedy acts

A few things that I noticed was that the three point line expanded so far out that it went to and ended at both edges of the court. Another thing that I noticed was that the basketball court looked a bit smaller than normal. I am not sure of this, but it sure looked like it to me. One thing that was funny was the four point shot that the Harlem Globetrotters made up during the game. This is part of the shows gimmick, and I thought it was very funny as anybody who has played basketball as a kid at one time or another made up the four point shot. During the game, the Harlem Globetrotter players made some very impressive shots. There dribbling skills are beyond great and they put together some fine alley-oops.

One of the funniest moments of the show came at halftime when the Harlem Globetrotter mascot named "Globie" came out on to the court. The person in the Globie costume danced to short snips of different songs. He did the dance of each song and had some crazy moves that most people could not do in their regular clothes yet he does the dances in his crazy Globie costume. You have to see it yourself to know how funny it is.

Globie, the team's mascot was the funniest part of the show to me!
During the second half of the game, there was a question on a call during the game. To review what just happened, the two basketball teams had to go on rewind. You then hear the sound of a tape rewinding through the loudspeaker and all of the players on the court went to rewind mode. It was great watching this, and I give credit to them for mastering this. It was like rewinding an old VCR tape and watching everything go backwards but this was live. Once that was done, they went back to normal mode but put the play in slow motion. We are watching the action from the play in slow motion. All of the players on the court did a great job at this. Even the ball movement was in slow motion as they used an air filled basketball instead of a real one for this trick. Very good and entertaining!

Many times during the basketball game, the globetrotters will get fans involved in their antics. If somebody does not want the chance to ever get embarrassed silly, it would be best for them not to get front-court seats. The farther you are, the safer you are. During one stint, Big Easy went out and took a lady's purse from the crowd. He had it on the court for awhile and then I don't know what happened to it. Later, he brings the lady to the center of the court. He asks her name and she gives it. He then asks her if she likes to party, and she says yes. Looking at this lady I doubt she is the party type lady but she says what everyone expects to hear. Music then comes on real loud, and he starts dancing with her and then turns around and puts himself in a position where she is freaking him. Yes! A little bump-and-grind action going on! She backs off at that point, but it stirs some awkward laughs from the crowd. People did not know if they should laugh or not. He then asks her for a kiss on the cheek. To my surprise she does it. He then asks her for a kiss on the other cheek, and she pecks him on that cheek too. He then closes his eyes and puckers his lips for a kiss on the lips! She denies him that kiss and tells him that she is married. That gives more arsenal for Big Easy's comedy act. He thanks her and lets her go back to her seat. When Big Easy sees the husband he tells the crowd that this beautiful lady has got to be with this man for his money. Now it is time for the husband to get humiliated. Big Easy brings the husband to center court and tells him that he is going to teach him how to have a long lasting relationship with his wife. Big Easy tells the husband that he is going to play the role of the husband and that he (the woman's husband) is going to play the role of the wife. Slow music comes on and Big Easy instructs the husband how to slow dance with him. Arms are around waist and everything and while dancing the husband says that he is so uncomfortable. Big Easy then picks up the husband like a woman, manhandles him and spins him around.

I have to say that I love comedy, and I love good laughs, but this whole thing seemed more insulting to the couple than anything else. It seemed pretty gross that this woman would give this stranger kisses on his cheeks. Granted it was just pecks, but it would sicken me if my wife, sister, aunt or my mother would be put in a position to do this. I know that the woman did not have to do what she was told, but she is just going with the position that she was put in to and figured that she has to go just go along with the show. Also, the man being insulted about his looks and the comment from Big Easy about his wife being with him for his money seemed more insulting than funny. Then to be dragged on to center court and treated like he was. This part of the show was not funny. The husband, like the wife, were put in a position, and I don't blame them for going along with the act, but I am sure that this guy and his wife were not very happy about it. Many other insults and degrading things were part of this stint that I cannot remember, but to sum it all up it was all done in a classless way.

Another thing that I noticed during the entire venue was that I was constantly trying to be sold something. They had something going around the arena that you could donate money to for a charity. Was I in church? Seemed like an offering plate going around, and I was not impressed with this. A few minutes before halftime, you also noticed vendors taking out giant baskets of basketballs to certain areas of the arena near the basketball court sidelines. This is so that they can sell the famous Harlem Globetrotter red, white and blue basketballs during half time. They make a killing off of selling these basketballs! The price tag for a normal sized basketball was $30! We bought two basketballs as how can you not buy the kids a basketball when all of the other kids around are getting one. It had me thinking about their strategy in marketing their items by putting pressure on the parents to buy their kids a ball. Surely there were people there who could not afford it. I understand that this is a business and that their goal here is to make money, but when I really think about this kind of stuff it really ticks me off. Another thing that they kept announcing is how everyone could go to the court after the game and get their basketballs autographed by the players. How does that make a kid feel if he did not get a basketball? Very shady in my opinion.

If you wanted to save some money on the very expensive basketballs that they sell at the show, you can get a basketball that is basically the same thing. An amazing price difference!

You can get four or five of these basketballs instead of one! Sure, they do not actually have the name Globetrotters on them. If having the Globetrotter's name on the basketball means that much to you go on ahead and  pay an arm and a leg for it. To each their own!

To sum up my Harlem Globetrotters 2017 show experience I would say this it was okay. It was not that bad as the show did have me laughing at times. Would I go again, most likely not. I think parts of the show were tasteless and things were said and done that I probably would not want my kids our future grand-kids seeing or hearing. I am not making out the show to be completely horrendous, perverted or anything like that, and I was not terribly offended by anything in the show. I would just rather not have little ones in my family around some of the statements or acts that the Globetrotters say and do. Many of the jokes that the Globetrotters say and do are demeaning to others. They will make fun of a person's weight, their ethnicity and other things that are just plain out insulting to others. If you are a conservative parent that tries to install values into your child, this show is probably not for you. There are much better shows out there to take your kids to and you will most likely want to pass this one up.

Rating: C