Globetrotters returning to New Mexico

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When the Harlem Globetrotters come to New Mexico in early February, the traveling basketball show will not only have a female team member, they’ll also be allowing the fans to vote on rule changes.

A new online function of www.harlemglobetrotters.com allows fans to vote for one of four “rule changes” that increase the Globetrotters’ ongoing silliness. One of the Globetrotters’ touring basketball demonstration teams, known for their wacky antics and trick shots, is set to play two New Mexico dates in 2013.

Courtesy of the Harlem Globetrotters: The Harlem Globetrotters have been entertaining fans since the 1920s. Pictured, from left, are, Brawley “Cheese” Chisolm, Anthony “Ant” Atkinson, Ariel “Mighty” Mitchell and Derrick “Dizzy” Grant; in back is Kris “Hi-Lite” Bruton. The Globetrotters are set to appear at both the Santa Ana Star Center and the Pit in February.

The Globetrotters are set to play a 7 p.m. game on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho and a 1 p.m. contest at the Pit in Albuquerque on Sunday, Feb. 3

The five-player rookie class of 2012-13 features two women, including Ariel “Mighty” Mitchell of Louisiana, who spoke with the News-Bulletin recently about her recent experience with the Globetrotters on a European leg of her initial year with the team.

“People show us so much love everywhere, including Europe,” said Mitchell, who just graduating from Dillard University in Louisiana. “It’s nice to be loved, and we went to places like Sheffield (England), where the kids there were so happy to see us. To brighten someone’s day, simply by walking into a room, is an amazing feeling. It’s very exciting.”

The Globetrotters, whose history goes back to about 1927, now have 36 players under contract. That allows them to break into two or three units and tour nearly nonstop, with two units often playing in different cities on the same day.

For those that have never seen a Globetrotters event, the group plays exhibition games against all-star teams. The Globetrotters nearly always win, and are usually allowed to violate the rules in comical and ingenious ways.

Their winning streaks stretch thousands of games. A team led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke the Globetrotters’ 24-year winning streak in 1995, and no Globetrotter squad has lost since a 2006 loss to a college all-star team.

This year, the Globetrotters’ promotions include a contest that allows fans to choose between five options for each stop on the tour: two-ball basketball, double points, a four-point shot, 6-on-5 or a penalty box.

Mitchell, 23, one of 11 women to play for the Globetrotters in their history, said her specialty will probably involve outside shooting. Each athlete brings in unique talents; one high-leaping player climbs the rim and sits on top of it, catching all shot attempts with both hands.

Last year, the Globetrotters brought a familiar face to the Pit. Former University of New Mexico star Fatima “TNT” Mattox came through, this time as a Globetrotter.

Mitchell, who graduated from Dillard with a degree in public health, is interested in helping young women develop a strong self-image that fosters self-care and planning and achieving career dreams.

With a history of cancer in her family, Mitchell tries to promote the need for cancer prevention and early detection. The Globetrotters, in addition to their arena games, also make many group appearances, especially at schools and other youth-centered places.

“It’s important to stress exercise and nutrition routines with kids,” she said. “I just try to get the word out as best I can.”

She hopes her achievement as student-athlete and with the Globetrotters will help inspire young people, especially girls.

“I talk about how important it is to stay positive, and to not let anyone else tell you what they think is impossible,” said Mitchell. “I want to show female athletes that anything is possible.”


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.