SUNRISE – An American tradition and legacy 82 years running made its way to the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise on March 1.
The world-renowned Harlem Globe-trotters, known for their combination of comedy and athletics, performed for kids and adults alike, facing the Washington Generals, bringing fun and excitement to their fans.
The Generals led at the half 44-46 and at the end of the third; however the Globetrotters came out victorious once again in a 76-67 final, picking up yet another win on their historic run. They came in fresh off a visit to Fort Myers the night before. The Generals’ last win over the Globetrotters came in 1971.
With an unprecedented 20,000 plus basketball games played dating back to 1927, the Globetrotters’ are unmatched by any other professional sports team. No team in the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, or the National Football League has ever reached such a milestone.
The team’s brand of entertainment includes a combination of spectacular dribbles and dazzling dunks of the trademark red, white and blue ball.
Throughout the day, the fans also enjoyed T-shirt giveaways and several performances. The Harlem Hi-Flyers performed a series of acrobatic and aerial stunts. Sponsor Campbell’s Soup also gave a $3,000 donation to three area elementary schools.
Boca Raton resident Patrick Regan Jr. attended the game with son Austin 10, and friend Chris Sanders, 9. He said seeing the team play is a tradition started by his father (Patrick Sr.) and he has seen them play five times, three in Florida.
“We love them (the Globetrotters), you cannot get any better in family entertainment,” Regan said.
“I have never seen them lose,” son Austin said.
“They are really funny and I like their tricks,” Sanders said.
Coral Springs resident Lisa Robinson also said the tradition runs deep for her and is one which she wanted to share with daughters Alexandra and Samantha for the first time.
“I loved it and think it was cool,” Robinson said. “I have known of them since I was a kid, so as soon as I knew they were in town, I had to come to see them. We had a great time, it was everything I expected it to be.”
Third-year head coach Clyde “The Glide” Sinclair was a 17-year veteran player with the Trotters out of North Carolina Central in 1988 and says the players have changed, getting stronger, faster and bigger, but the love and admiration remains the same.
“People will always love the Harlem Globetrotters, it is just a different generation,” Sinclair says. “What we have now are younger players, but the same old recipe.”
The Generals traveling squad welcomed back two University of West Florida alums in James Vilsaint and Shawn Foust, both of whom played together at UWF.
Vilsaint is a Fort Lauderdale native and a graduate of Deerfield Beach High School. He has been touring since November of last year and says he has enjoyed such a great experience.
“It is a lot of fun and it is cool, getting to travel, to play in a lot of NBA arenas, play in front of thousands of people and to put a smile on the kids’ [faces],” Vilsaint said.
Photo By Sayre Berman. Hi Lite Brown gets an assist of sorts from an unwitting game official during the March 1 matchup between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.