Harlem Globetrotters keep kids in mind at Rupp Arena


Harlem Globetrotter Hot Shot leads a group of kids in the Y.M.C.A. song during the show on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.

Addison Lander

The Harlem Globetrotters played at Rupp Arena in their signature style of combining basketball and entertainment on Sunday.

The game they played was against their archrivals, the Washington Generals, although they maintained a lead over the Generals throughout most of the game. Ultimately, the Globetrotters soundly defeated the Generals in a six-point shoot-out and maintained their status as the “best basketball team on Earth.”

The team’s stop in Lexington was a part of its current “Fan Powered” World Tour, the fan power coming from sound meters that lit up a vertical bar based on how loud all the fans in the arena were. The Globetrotters not only involved those present at the game in this way, but they also regularly interacted with members of the crowd in different ways throughout the course of the game, from starting a wave to bringing fans down for a dance-off.

At one point, music from the Disney movie “The Lion King” played, and one of the players went into the stands and picked up a kid similarly to the way Simba is picked up at the movie’s beginning, and then encouraged the parents of small children present to do the same. The Globetrotters involved a lot of children throughout the game, and there was an emphasis placed on family friendly humor.

First-time fan Kyle Sumner said that he was “impressed, the kids are really into it.” Sumner, a Lexington resident and worker for East & Westbrook Construction, is a UK basketball fan himself and was there with his son, who is also starting to pick up a love of basketball.

Before the game actually started, five kids were brought out onto the floor and played a round of musical chairs with the Globetrotter’s mascot, Globie, and at other times, kids were brought down to the floor in the middle of the game to be taught a basketball trick or the like.

The Globetrotters themselves kept laughter alive in the crowd through many jokes and banter with the referees and members of the opposing team. In the second half of the game, one of the Globetrotters, Hi-Lite, tried to convince the referee that the opposing team had gotten the ball out of bounds and used the aforementioned wave to create a distraction while giving the ball to someone of the other team. When the referee stuck with his decision of giving the Generals the ball, Hi-Lite called for an instant replay, which resulted in everyone on the floor recreating a series of their previous actions but in reverse.

The Globetrotters referred to an app they have multiple times, one focused on engaging with fans, and they emphasized the fact that it is free. In the app, one can find a team roster and even videos teaching fans how to do certain tricks, such as spinning a basketball on one finger.

The Globetrotters have partnered with GoNoodle in a campaign to get kids moving and active, and this was something they mentioned as they brought kids out to participate in the various games and activities.

Axel Navi, an Anderson County High School junior, and Anthony Michelotti, a homeschooled sophomore, both agreed that the Globetrotters fully achieved their goal of engaging with the kids during the game.

Michelotti went on to say that “kids need to have people to look up to,” regarding the Globetrotters serving as role models for keeping kids active.