The World famous, Harlem Globetrotters for 85 years have balled and entertained audiences around the world are still going strong today. Following a highly successfully 2010 UK tour, Harlem Globetrotters were back in London promoting their up and coming 2011 UK tour. Nine Arenas in Nine days, its a good look.
On behalf of Live Nation, britishhiphop.co.uk, we were invited along to the Sport Cafe (in Piccadilly Circus, London) for the Globetrotters presenting of a sign Jersey for their renowned wall. In the mist of their busy schedule, the two team members, four year veteran Handles Franklin and rookie Cheese Chisholm took time out to chill for interview with us.
Have you both been to London before? And how are you finding it?
Handles: Oh man, enjoying it, Ive been London before but this is the first time Ive got a chance to get out there and see things.
Cheese: For me, its my first time, I am from New York and been comparing and contrasting London to New York and found a lot of similarity, so feel like Im at home.
Are surprised by how much love youve got?
Handles: Well we travel, Ive been to 60 countries, we usually get a lot of love, but defiantly surprised by how we were welcome this time, it was great, truly been great.
Handles Franklin and Cheese Chisholm
Is London your first stop or have you been anywhere else on this promotional tour so far?
Handles: You know what, this is our first stop. Last year we went to five cities and it was so successfully, this year were coming back for nine. This time we actually got a chance to come out and see London it amazing we been having a great time just to come out here and experience the culture.
For example we got a chance to visit the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, London Bridge, things you hearing about, we had the chance to get up close and personal.
With regards to basketball and generally, you both come from good college background, did that help you progress to becoming a Harlem Globetrotter?
Handles: I wanted to be a Globetrotter since I was a kid so I am truly living a dream. With my education background I am able to speak to kids let know it important to get you education and dreams are attainable, so it all gel together.
Cheese: I came in a great shooter, I am know for how well I shoot the basketball, but just me learning the showmanship and tricks, it a day by day performance. Taking the ball with you to the hotel room and breaking lamps and everything, just getting better, learning from veterans like Handles teaching us different tricks and moves. My job is I shoot the basketball, which helps with the brand new aspect we brought into the game, the 4 point shot.
What is? And what was the process in coming up with the 4-point shot?
Handles: Well see the Globetrotter have been instrumental in the game, been around 85 years, we popularize such things as the behind the back pass, the fast break, the alley-oop slam dunk, even the 3 point shot. Weve been instrumental to bringing all these things to the game. We actually introduced basketball to the entire world earlier in our years, as were consistently bringing new things to the game, that when we come up this year with the 4 point shot. The game is consistently evolving, we think this is a great addition, its 35 feet away from the basket and 12 feet further than the NBA 3-point line. Also as the players are getting more athletic and getting bigger, theyre on the court to entertain, we feel this kind of widen things out.
Harlem Globetrotters introduce 4-point shot:
What your best experience so far with the Globetrotters?
Handles: There is so many, as I mention Ive been to 60 countries and each have the own uniqueness, love the fans of Romania and the beauty of Brazil. One of the greatest things for me is been able to touch lives. We go to lot of children hospitals where we speak to kids, one that stands out, we went to cancer hospital for children in Europe. Just to see those kids light up their faces and being able to put similes on faces, I think that the best part.
Cheese: My most memorial experience would be we just went on a military tour just past holidays just after Thanksgiving. It was the first time me leaving the country, my passport got stamped for the first time. We went to like 7 different countries in two weeks, different types of military bases. Just seeing how they embraced us, how much we brought apart of Harlem to them, made me feel happy.
What are your influences (growing up, whether basketball wise or non basketball wise) in terms of becoming Harlem Globetrotter?
Handles: For me its unique, because when I was 6, I saw the Globetrotters on a cartoon, never wanted to do anything else in life, nothing else. So you know me, course I am a basketball fan, I love the game and I honed my skills on the playground. But never had another goal, always wanted be a Globetrotter, one of the few people, truly living their dream…
Cheese: For me it was basketball itself, I just love basketball, I was always known on my block to have a basketball in my hands. Always dribbling and everything, it was just basketball itself, I use to eat, sleep, breathe it…
You say youre living your dream, how much hard work goes into that, getting to this point in your life?
Handles: You know what, its real hard work. I talk to kids about the principles of the things that help me get to my dream and I speak with passion, speak from the heart, you know, I tell kids to stay away from drugs and to get their education so you always got something to fall back on if your educated. I tell them to believe in their dreams and I think the biggest thing is to believe in yourself.
Cheese: All about confidence.
Handles: In my life, people would say I could never make the Globetrotters. They would say, you dribble too much. Now I travel around the world getting paid to dribble. So, if you believe in yourself and believe in your dreams and stay out of trouble, youll be successful.
Is there any Pro players playing now, who influence or give you inspiration?
Handles: I got lot of friends in the NBA and lot of people Ive had the chance to perform and play against. I was under contract with Nike before I joined the Globetrotters. I was in LeBrons very first commercial, but I am still amazed by Kobe Bryant, his work ethic is emulate, to be the best player and still have the work ethic that he has… got to really respect that, hes in the gym, hes a gym rat, always there putting in work.
Cheese: Kevin Durant. He inspired me, even though hes younger than me, hes somebody. As a slim guy I was always told when I little, I was too skinny to play. Playing, growing up, Ive done everything, that a skinny person cant do or anything a big person can do. I like to be that example for skinny people. I got an email one time and it really hit me when another kid said, Yo! Cheese you inspired me (to keep balling) cause Im skinny just like you. That really hit home.
Handles: We actually had a guy with the Globetrotters couple year ago. Jamario Moon, who plays in the NBA now and is doing a great job in the league, was in the Slam Dunk few years ago. Currently with the Clippers, been with Cleveland and Miami, but he a great inspiration for us. Cause there are lot of players who are with the Globetrotters then played in the league (NBA) or played in the league then were with the Globetrotters. Some of the greats like Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain (probably on best big man to ever play the game) one of our greatest Globetrotters, Connie Hawkins, lot of those greats.
Which Hip Hop artist do you like to listen too before a game or youre just a Fan?
Handles: Im a fan of Jay-Z, in fact I had an opportunity to perform with him before, not in a hip hop capacity. One of the commercial I did with Nike, called Freestyle, where we did tricks with the ball and made music with the ball…
Cheese: Im a big Drake fan and Jay-Z, theyre my favoured two, to listen too before a game.
I heard you actually produce some music.
Cheese: My major in college was communication, so I have some background in that, I had a song, when I scored in games…it say my name it, pretty cool…
Larry Bird and Magic, then Jordan, then Kobe Bryant and now LeBron and Durant. Yet Globetrotters have been around before and throughout all those Eras and still going strong. Known World Wide, youve introduce basketball to people for the first time, to lot who are not even fans of the game, how does that feel?
Handles: We love that, we one of the few organizations thats been able to cross generations and you know basketball, sport in general, is something that crosses age, race, gender, ethnicity, whatever and I think the thing with our show its been able to sustain all these years cause it a family show. You dont necessarily be a fan, like you said, but it constant entertainment, we here to put similes on faces and are biggest tribute is it brings family together.
The Harlem Globetrotters
On the real, the Harlem Globetrotters kick it with us for a minute, there was much appreciation from both sides. They explained the consistent daily practise and hard work that goes into maintaining their skill set and showmanship.
Handles let us know he’s liking Boston for the NBA title, Pittsburgh (his Alumna) for NCAA tournament (though they were surprised to be an early knock out, he said look out for Connecticut who are still going strong).
Yo!! I asked Cheese why they call you Cheese?… cause I tell my opponents to say cheese and smile for the camera when I shoot in their face…
Lookout for the Harlem Globetrotters between, 24th of April to 2nd May 2011 in city near you, on their UK tour, for tickets hit up www.livenation.co.uk, their available now.
For more information on Harlem Globetrotters, go to http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com
The Harlem Globetrotters… 85 Years and counting…
Handles: Personally we have a guy at are organization who been with us for 58 years, started off as a player then went on to be a coach for years, now in the head office. So you know I love the Globetrotters, I live it, so hopefully, I be with this organization after done playing…