The Globetrotters enjoyed immense popularity in the 70s and 80s. The Harlem Globetrotters cartoon show on CBS earned some of the highest ratings in the history of Saturday morning television, and the team had their own live action Saturday morning variety show, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine.
In 1985, Olympic Gold Medalist Lynette Woodard joined the Trotters, becoming the first female to ever play on a men's pro basketball team and helping to blaze a path for the WNBA. The Globetrotters have featured thirteen female players in their illustrious history.
Harlem Globetrotters highlights 2016
Because almost all of its players have been African American, and because of the buffoonery involved in many of the Globetrotters' skits, they drew some criticism in theCivil Rights era.
The players were derisively accused by some civil-rights advocates of Tomming for Abe, a reference to Uncle Tom and Jewish owner Abe Saperstein.
However, prominent civil rights activist Jesse Jackson (who would later be named an Honorary Globetrotter) came to their defence by stating:
"I think they've been a positive influence...They did not show blacks as stupid. On the contrary, they were shown as superior."
Harlem Globetrotters tricks and funny moments
The current line-up features basketball players from across America, with a roster that includes favourites Big Easy, Ant, female start TNT, Handles and Hi-Lite.
Former Globetrotters player and current head coach 'Sweet' Lou Dunbar said:
"We''e looking for people who can play the game. We're always looking for great basketball players who have great personalities.
"We want people to get an education first, too, so we recruit people who are graduating college. All of our players are well-educated."
Last year the Globetrotters tipped off the celebration of the team's 90th anniversary by naming Pope Francis an Honorary Harlem Globetrotter, following the Pope"s weekly General Audience, before a crowd of over 50,000 in St. Peter's Square.
It was the eighth time the Globetrotters have had an audience with a Pope, and Pope Francis is one of ten Honorary Harlem Globetrotters in team history.
The Globetrotters' show features even more amazing basketball skills and wizardry, with a continued focus on family entertainment.
For their 2017 tour, which visits the Brighton Centre
in April, basketball's greatest innovators will debut basketball's first-ever 4-point line,
a move that comes six years after the team unveiled the first 4-point shot in the history of the sport.
The Harlem Globetrotters at The Brighton Centre on Saturday 15th April 2017. See brightoncentre.co.uk for more details. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.