I have no clever title for this one

Barkley Jail BasketballI certainly have been bragging enough about it the past few days, but, yes, I got to stand on the roof of the Spectrum to watch the Harlem Globetrotters play the Washington Generals on Thursday afternoon.

Apparently, it made the papers and everything.

Nevertheless, since a blog is supposed to be like the director’s cut of the DVD (at least that’s what I say it’s supposed to be), I figured to fill in the blanks from the published version(s) of the Globetrotters outing.

Firstly, it was clear this wasn’t the typical pro sporting event. Yeah, there was the whole roof bit and climbing out onto a catwalk before traversing a narrow ladder through an open hatch to get on top of the building, but I have never been asked to carry in part of the equipment for a Phillies, Eagles or Sixers game before. This time, as I was working my way up to the hatch, I was handed the net.

“Here’s the net,” someone said as I climbed. “Don’t lose it.”

The net? Yep, it was the net that had to be laced into the portable hoops already standing at either end of the roof.

A couple minutes later while just standing around and taking in the view before “Sweet Georgia Brown” started playing and all the capering began, Globie, the Globetrotters’ mascot, chucked a snowball at me.

Seriously! The damn mascot!

Worse, it wasn’t even a proper snowball… it was an ice ball. And, I bet the Globe-headed freak loaded it up with rocks before he threw it.

Needless to say, that mascot got his when he slipped and fell off an exhaust out-cropping aside of the court. The Globe Head went down like he was shot by a sniper, too. Serves him right.

Otherwise, Gonz pretty much nailed it, though there was one moment where I was laughing that obnoxious laugh of mine during the game and one of the Globetrotters looked at out of the corner of his eye with that, “What’s with this dude?” look.

Good times.


Elsewhere, Charles Barkley heads off for his three-day stint in jail following a night of drinking with Steve Urkel. Isn’t that the way it always happens? … A-Rod is going to get scoped and could miss six-to-nine weeks. Start your speculation about the source of the injury now. … The new Neko Case record is very good. … Terrell Owens was sent to Buffalo to finish out his NFL career. We’ll have more on that in the latest edition of the Center City column, so get ready.

Relying on the classics

The Washington Generals were due. Make that overdue. Big time. See, the Generals’ losing skid dated back to January of 1971 when Meadowlark Lemon missed a would-be buzzer beater that would have given his Harlem Globetrotters the victory.

Certainly a lot can happen in 38 years. Lifetimes are lived and eras of history are defined over less time. But losing streaks? Thirty-eight years? How could it be?

Oh, it be. Even with the accusations of point-shaving, some suspicious play and questionable calls, the Globetrotters always figured out a way to win during crunch time.

But the Harlem Globetrotters had never found themselves in the setting they were placed in during Thursday afternoon’s tough, 36-24, victory over the Generals. This time the ‘Trotters not only had to battle the wily Generals, but also the sunshine, a little ice and snow, stiff winds, slightly above-freezing temps, and, of course, heights.


Continue reading this story…

Sweet Georgia Brown is it ever cold out there!

meadowlark_lemonThe Harlem Globetrotters were supposed to play a game atop the Spectrum today, but the snow, ice and frigid temps forced a postponement to Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Still, the Globbies are back in town and a ballgame on the roof of the old arena is very apt.

I haven’t seen the money line on this game yet, but I’m going with the ‘Trotters and giving the points. They have been on a roll lately.

Anyway, when I was in first grade the first pro basketball game I ever saw was when the Globetrotters had their way with the hometown Washington Generals at the Cap Centre. I have to admit that I was initially torn about whether to root for the Generals or the Globbies. I was, if anything, loyal to my hometown. However, after watching Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal run roughshod all over the Generals, my allegiance was completely on the Harlem side.

In fact, I was so taken with the Globetrotters that day I went back to school the next and boasted that the defending NBA Champs, the Washington Bullets, wouldn’t be able to keep up with Harlem in a seven-game series.

No way.

I didn’t care that the Bullets had Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld up front – not with Meadowlark draining half-court shots from behind his back, Curly sliding all over the hardwood while keeping his dribble and then that bucket-of-confetti bit.

C’mon, Unseld might grab every board, but what’s he going to do when they bring out that bucket? Besides, what team can defend that magic circle?

Needless to say, we’re pretty excited to see the Spectrum roof game, despite a few concerns. Namely, what happens if the ball rolls off the roof? Or what happens if a player dives for a loose ball and his momentum carries him over the edge?

Big issues, folks.

So while we worry about the nuances of gravity, check out this SNL bit on groundbreaking ballplayer Sweet River Baines, the first African-American to play for the Globetrotters.

Take a look:

Hartman was everywhere in that sketch…