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Harlem Globetrotters Threatened to Sue Me! Go Team!

by Miles Standish

2002-01-28 01:33:37

In case the bludgeoning overflow of advertisement hasn't tipped you off, the Harlem Globetrotters are on tour right now. THE UNFORGETTABLE TOUR, which is like THE INVISIBLE MAN or THE PURLOINED LETTER, except that it isn't 19th century genre fiction. But did you know about the special connection between Pigdog and the Harlem Globetrotters?

Well, a few years ago, I wrote an article on Pigdog entitled "Finding Your Patron Globetrotter." Don't bother following that link, though. It points at nothing, because six months after it went up, Harlem Globetrotters sent MONSTER ROBOT ATTACK LAWYERS after us.

Mind you, Pigdog has its own team of ruthless steel-eyed law sharks, but I took it down. The idea of the article was that each individual is guarded and protected by a Harlem Globetrotter, who watches over them, guides their personality, and occasionally possesses them in a Sweet-Georgia-Brown-whistling horse-of-the-Gods frenzy. No doubt you've heard this theory before. Furthermore, the article helped you, the reader, determine which Globetrotter was your own maitre de tete. But then they changed team members, so the whole thing made no goddamn sense at all and was obsolete, so, well, down the article went. Which is why that link is no good at all. You can check if you want. Just click the link. I double-dhole-dare you.

Told you so.

Anyway, HGI. Threatening to sue. Monster robot attack lawyers verses ruthless steel-eyed law sharks. A bloodbath of secret violence. Underwater battles between knife-wielding SCUBA divers and robot sea urchins. Oh, fuck, yeah. It went down, and it went down ugly. Let that be a lesson to you, enemies of Pigdog.

So, when the Harlem Globetrotters came to town, renowned international troublemakers St. Mae and Shaggy bought me and a gun-toting maniac friend tickets to their show at the Colliseum. And they gave me a big sign that read "Harlem Globetrotters Sued Me! Go Team!"

(I only flashed it briefly, and you couldn't see the part about Suing Me, but this is a review of the Harlem Globetrotters, and not of my personal mettle as a subversive.)

The other crazy thing about it was, they didn't tell me what the tickets were for. They said, "Hey, cancel what you're doing January 25. We're getting you tickets to something better, but we won't say what." And then they told all my friends, and my mother, and all kinds of people, and made them all swear not to tell me, and, somehow, everyone kept a secret. The moral of the story: THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS CAN DEFEAT THE FORCE OF GOSSIP.

Well, I would've have written about the Globetrotters to begin with if I hadn't liked the Globetrotters. It was cool.

The audience was mostly the under-13 hipster crowd that haunts these kinds of events, along with their drivers, and the show was mostly aimed at that crowd. At the same time, it was monstrously corporate. There were like four different time outs, specifically for the purpose of bringing out sponsors onto the stage. Some of the sponsors were good - the unfortuantely-named Burger King Coca-Cola Tumblers were as cool as the coolest thing you saw at Burning Man, and if you didn't go to Burning Man, then, um, go this year and then come back to read this review or something - but some of the sponsors were boring like Sunday morning. There were two or three contests, sponsors by various faceless megacorps, which were things like "Shoot a Basketball into the hoop and win some goddamn T-shirt or something". Well, that's nice, guys, and I'm glad you made money, but, like the kid behind me heckled, "Start the Game Already!"

As far as basketball games go, this wasn't one. The people playing against the 'Trotters were the Nationals (What happened to the Generals? Who knows?) and I was the only one cheering for them. It seemed like some of the plays were actually competitive, and both sides did basketbally compete-y things, but some points were strictly the Globetrotters doing tricks, and the Nationals just kind of followed them around not actually trying to stop them. I think there was some kind of hand-signal for the Nationals, that said, "Okay, we automatically get this point, so stay back and look like doofs for a while and we'll run circles around you." I think there were fifteen or so of those, which meant that, if you give the Nationals a 30-point spread, it would start to become an interesting bet. I think the Nationals lost by less than 30, so, uh, good for them. Will Atlantic City take book on Globetrotters games? Somehow, I doubt it.

The game started with the Globetrotters doing some shots from the other side of the court, and the fact that they failed over and over actually made it impressive when they made the shot; it wasn't special effects, it was just really talented talenty people on St. Talent's Day. They also did basketball tricks. Are you allowed to call it contact juggling if it's not at a Rennaissance Faire? If so, that's what it was. Cool shit, too.

The one guy on the Globetrotters, "Showbiz" Jackson, had a microphone while he was playing, so he could, like, say Globetrottery things and do clever skits, like sneaking a kid from the audience on to take shots, or stealing purses, or that kind of thing. Which was cool, except that the microphone was all whammied and wiggy, and kept shorting out and going quiet and things, so instead of a cross between a juggling-show and a basketball game, like it should have been, it was more like a cross between a juggling- show, a basketball game, and a junior high theatre performance. Anyway, boy howdy, they were impressive and funny. They did flips, they jumped up and hung off the rim, they did crazy trick shots, and all kinds of rad things. My own personal patron, Orlando "Hurricane" Antigua, played a mean game, as did the lanky Mongolian who kept making kickass 3-point shots. The action and comedy were enough to justify the irksome corporate bits and technical problems. You should go. You'd like it.

But, there's one other thing. WHY WOULD YOU SIGN UP TO PLAY ON THE NATIONALS TEAM? I mean, other than being able to be in a Globetrotters show despite being a cracker, there's little incentive. You look like an ass, you're in someone else's shadow, you must humiliating surrender rather than giving your proverbial athletic one-hundred-and- ten percent, and, to top it all, at the end of the game the audience storms the court, douses you with gasoline, and sets you on fire.

Okay, nobody gets set on fire. Or maybe they did - I left before the half-hour-long autograph session.

Oh, and the whole place smelled like garlic! Did I mention that? I think the concession stands were selling mostly garlic fries, because the whole place smelled like garlic! That was good, too.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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