The Harlem Globetrotters will make their annual appearance in Rockford December 27th at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
The Trotters have been entertaining audiences worldwide for 90 years now.
“The thing I love the most about being a world famous Harlem Globetrotter is just getting the opportunity to make an impact on people. Making people laugh and smile all over the world,” said Globetrotter ‘Buckets’ Blakes during a visit to the Eyewitness News studio Wednesday.
Blakes has been a Globetrotter for 14 years. There are three teams of Globetrotters that each spend six months of the year on the road putting on 300 shows.
They still use some of the same old routines we’ve come to love while adding a few new wrinkles.
But the Trotters have changed with the times. First adding women to the team, and now the first Puerto Rican born player ‘El Gato’ Melendez. He bucked the trend in Puerto Rico a country known for producing baseball players.
“Everything started with baseball back in Puerto Rico. It’s the first thing they want you to play. You have a bat, and a glove and a baseball,” says Melendez.
While we think of their antics on the court, the Trotters are making as big of an impact off the court reaching out to kids, schools and organizations with their Great Assist initiative.
“We partner with the U.S. Department of Education and the Presidents’ council on physical fitness and sports,” says Blakes.
“We have the ABC program where we visit schools to help kids fight bullying and not to be involved with that situation,” says Melendez.
But the Globetrotters main mission to make people laugh never changes.
“More than 300 games a year, that’s a lot of smiles,” says Melendez.