They play basketball, they had a hit cartoon series about them in the seventies and they once went on an 8,000-plus game winning streak. Originally from Chicago, the Harlem Globetrotters have, in their 80-or-so years, dabbled time and again in competitive basketball but mostly they have played one-sided exhibition games, often against a stooge team. That said, the team has also enjoyed a number of key professional wins, most notably in the forties and fifties.
They also blazed a trail for black sport in the US, competing against all-white professional basketball teams and contributing to the lifting of the NBA's so called 'colour line' that precluded teams from fielding African-American players.
Nowadays, the Globetrotters continue to toy with competitive fixtures now and then but mostly perform exhibition games with dazzling skills, gravity-defying slam-dunks, laughs, thrills and spills. They remain enduringly popular and, while never an 'all-star' team, have nonetheless managed to maintain high professional standards and hold an almost unique position in world sport.
The big tour tips off at the LG Arena in Birmingham on 25th March, followed by arena dates in Sheffield, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Cardiff, Wembley and Newcastle, before the final show at the Manchester Arena on 2nd April 2013. We will have tickets available from 9am on Friday 21st September, priced up to £40. This spring's huge arena tour sold out completely and next year's is expected to be just as popular.