Globetrotters thrill fans during tour stop at Ramstein
By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 10, 2016
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The Harlem Globetrotters brought their high-flying hoops performance to Ramstein on Thursday, thrilling hundreds of servicemembers and their families with their basketball tricks and energetic showmanship.
The gym at Southside Fitness Center was packed for the 4 p.m. show, the first of two at Ramstein for the day, and a stop on the team’s current U.S. military tour through Europe.
The line for the free show, open to all Defense Department ID cardholders, began forming about two hours before show time. Tickets for the evening show were issued to units.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Scott Halls, followed by Army Sgt. 1st Class Haywood Brevard and his family, were first in line outside the gym. Both had fond memories of seeing the Globetrotters in their youth and were eager to give their kids the same experience.
“Awesome,” said Sebastian Brevard, about getting to see the Globetrotters a day before turning 8.
“It’s an awesome thing for the military, a way to give back to the troops,” Haywood Brevard said of the Globetrotters’ visit to Ramstein.
The Globetrotters’ current 17-game tour kicked off earlier this month at RAF Alconbury in the United Kingdom. Besides the U.K. and Germany, stops were planned in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.
The tour was made possible by Navy Entertainment and Armed Forces Entertainment, organizers said.
The Globetrotters have been dazzling audiences with their acrobatic style of basketball for 90 years. In recent years, they’ve made military bases a mainstay of their touring schedule, conducting annual shows for the last 15 years, organizers said. They were last in Europe in 2013.
This year’s European tour precedes the Globetrotters’ 2017 World Tour, which kicks off Dec. 26 and will include more than 250 cities.
On Thursday, the team didn’t take long to get the audience clapping and laughing. They stormed out onto the court and shed their leisure suits to reveal white vintage uniforms with red, white and blue striped knee socks and shorter-than-regulation shorts.
Their court warm-ups included hoop pull-ups, cartwheels, back flips, and lots of dancing. They showed off their ball handling skills by taking turns spinning the ball on their fingertips, rolling it across their back and down the elbow.
In a game against one of the teams with which they travel, the World All-Stars, the Globetrotters showcased what they called the world’s first 4-point line. It’s a line located 30 feet from the basket — about 3 inches beyond the top of the NBA’s current 3-point line.
Those 4-point shots helped put the Globetrotters up 50-38 at halftime. But the score was almost an afterthought. The goal was to entertain.
“We like to get the crowd involved, go up into the stands and bring some kids out ... and connect with the crowd a little bit more,” said TNT Lister, who gave kids sitting next to the court high-fives.
“We strive to just create memories that will last a lifetime,” said Lister, who joined the elite squad in 2011.
Lister is one of three women on the team and the only one on the current tour.
She said servicemembers and their families have so far been an appreciative audience.
“It feels good to be able to come here, give them a little taste of home,” she said.