A tiger got us at the tail; let’s look at basketball | Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 2/4/22

If you are 4-foot-5, can you make a living playing basketball? 

Last Saturday BJ and I went with our children and their families to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Climate Pledge Arena in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

A tiger got us at the tail; let’s look at basketball | Life in Ludlow

Posted

If you are 4-foot-5, can you make a living playing basketball? 

Last Saturday BJ and I went with our children and their families to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. After all these years they still put on a fabulous show with several updates. 

First of all, the signature “Sweet Georgia Brown” song is hardly to be found among the music(?) played before, during and after the game. The music is much more attractive too and understandable by folks who are probably 18 and younger, although there were times when our 40-plus children and their spouses seemed to have heard the songs. Frankly, it is getting weird being the same age as old people.

This was either the third or fourth time I have seen this traveling basketball hilarity, the first one being sometime in the middle of the last century. 

Every previous edition featured one of the Globetrotters throwing a bucket of water on a spectator, a coach or a referee. 

Actually, if memory serves, the bucket aimed toward a spectator really held confetti and was a guaranteed generator of hilarity. 

For whatever reason they didn’t do it for this show. Probably some bespectacled insurance risk analyst. 

Having spent many years near the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, we were sensitive to the fact that KU women’s basketball star Lynette Woodard was the first female member of the Globetrotters. “TNT” Lister played at Temple University and is now the second woman to play for the team. 

A few years ago, the team was touring Poland and were impressed by the ball dribbling skills of “Dazzle” Kidon in a post-show demonstration. He has been a member ever since. You may remember that historically the Globetrotters have been exclusively populated with black players, a group rarely represented in professional basketball until the 1960s, a fact leading to the creation of the team. 

From my seat in the far corner of the area it appeared that “Dazzle” was the only “white” player and he clearly had some dribbling skills reminiscent of the unique Curly Neal. Halftime of the game included a tribute to the incredibly skilled Curly and his accomplishments. Curly was bald thereby leading to the name, Curly. 

The real fan favorite was “Hot Shot” Swanson at 4-foot-5 who has a 4-foot-6 younger brother “X-Over” Tompkins who also plays with the team. 

“Hot Shot” played ball for Monroe Junior College in the Bronx and grew up idolizing Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson before touring with other basketball exhibition teams prior to joining the Globetrotters. Because of his obvious skills and diminutive stature he was a fan favorite, particularly with the kids who were his size or smaller. BJ was a fan because he is the only player on the team shorter than she is. 

The available “merch” (a younger-than-I person’s term for merchandise), was a kid’s dream with T-shirts, basketballs, shorts, hats, etc. available at less than frugal prices. No matter, in spite of a sparse Saturday afternoon crowd, the lines to purchase said “merch” exceeded the lines you used to experience at the old Key Arena’s women’s restroom. 

After the game all the kids were encouraged to not only partake of some “merch” funded by their parents, they were also encouraged to line up to get player autographs on their recently purchased basketballs. When we headed home, as we disembarked from the Kingston ferry, we heard a basketball bouncing behind us. It was an 8-year-old boy dribbling the ball his accompanying father had purchased for him at the game. He crowed about the three autographs he got and then lamented he was unable to get one from “Hot Shot.”

Local luminaries Chris and Bill Dean were also at the Globetrotters “game” enjoying the hijinks. (In case there was any doubt, the Washington Generals lost again like for the 10,000th time in a row.) Bill and Chris were down in the high dollar courtside seats with members of their family. We were about 4 miles away in the “cheap seats.” That is testimony to who loves their grandchildren more.

Yep, the Kansas City Chiefs generated depression in me and the majority of the population not within 100 miles of Cincinnati, Ohio by losing to the Bengals in the AFC Championship game. 

As with the Seahawks, “Wait ‘til next year!”

Love a curmudgeon, happy Groundhog’s Day and have a great week! 

(Ned “We won the toss but still lost” Luce is a retired IBM executive and Port Ludlow resident. Reach Ned at ned@ptleader.com.)

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here