"Growing up in NYC I used to take my basketball everywhere, from dribbling around the tourists in Times Square to playing in the legendary Holcombe Rucker Park."
Harlem Globetrotter Summer Basketball Clinics are open to boys and girls aged 6-12 and offered in select cities across the country. Each clinic will be coached by actual Globetrotter stars. We sat down with the Globetrotter players/clinic coaches to learn about how they got into basketball. Who helped them along the way and why they're excited for the Globetrotters Summer Basketball Clinics to start!
Q) HOW AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO BASKETBALL AS A KID?
Firefly: I got into basketball by watching my older brother play and by watching NBA games all the time with my father. He is a big NY Knick fan and I always wanted to be just like my father. He would bring me to the park when I was like 5 years old and just let me shoot the basketball.
Sweet J: I started playing basketball when I was 10 years old. There was a basketball court at a park right in front of my apartment complex and everyone used to go there as a kid to play so I fell in love with the sport. I would learn some moves from the boys that I would play against and also I used to watch videos of Allen Iverson and practice his signature crossover everyday for at least 2-3 hours a day.
Cheese: My father was the one who introduced me to basketball. I’ve been playing basketball since I was six years old. Growing up in NYC I used to take my basketball everywhere, from dribbling around the tourists in Times Square to playing in the legendary Holcombe Rucker Park.
Q) WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE COACH AND WHY?
TNT: My college coach, Dawn Staley. She is a great role model, not only as coach but as a person. She does a lot for her community and she works with kids. I always admired that.
Hawk: My favorite coaches were my brothers, James & Elijah Thomas, because they were the people that truly introduce me to the game of basketball. They were my older brothers and I looked up to them wanting to do what they did, as well as be as good as they were. Like my brothers always said to me, "Basketball will only give as much a you put into it and we feel like your going to be something great." This statement didn't mean much until I reached high school and played for the Patriots at West Carteret High School. This advice helped me understand that in order to reach greatness you have to push through failures. So until this day I go by this saying, "Basketball will only give as much a you put into it and we feel like your going to be something great."
Firefly: I've had many coaches in my life that are all significant in their own way. My first coach was my father because he introduced me to the game and told me which great players to watch and learn from. He would always tell me that the one thing people can't take away from you is how big your heart is. My Boys and Girls club coach, Junior Varsity coach, AAU coach and Siena College coach all played huge roles in my life. One person didn’t help me get to where I am now. It was a combination of many mentors/coaches and they still help me today.
Q) WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO TEACHING KIDS THE MOST?
Too Tall: Slide dribble. I can't wait to teach kids how to dribble and slide at the same time!
T-Time: My favorite thing on tour would have to be our dances and celebrations after shots. We figured because the dances were so popular and exciting, the fans would enjoy them and they did. I'm looking forward to teaching a few dances and celebrations to the kids this summer too!
Hi-Lite: I don't have a favorite. I love everything about basketball and Globetrotter basketball. I'm going to teach kids everything they can handle...and then some!