Harlem Globetrotters announce NZ tour
Harlem Globetrotters visiting capital on tour
It's been more than 12 years but the world's most entertaining basketball team is returning to Wellington, with the Harlem Globetrotters announcing a capital stop in their seven-city tour in May.
The Globetrotters have been around since the 1920s and are known for their comedy, fan interaction and exceptional skills.
They will play seven nights in a row, bringing their unique world tour to Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin, New Plymouth, Napier and Nelson.
Despite visiting more than 122 countries in their 87-year history, the Globetrotters haven't played in New Zealand since 1999 and Nate "Big Easy" Lofton said it was time to break the drought.
Lofton, who competed in the 15th series of The Amazing Race with teammate Herbert "Flight Time" Lang, said he doesn't know much about New Zealand but was excited to bring the show down under.
"I can't wait, it's been 12 years and I think that's 12 years too long personally. My teammate [Lang] actually vacationed in New Zealand from a trip that me and him won doing The Amazing Race and he loved it. I can't wait to get down there, play our brand of basketball and hopefully it won't take another 12 years to get us down there."
Known as the funniest guy on the team, Lofton also has a unique story. A native of New Orleans, he and his family were victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Lofton and his family evacuated to Houston where he got a call to try out with the Globetrotters. He went and worked out with the team and was given a contract the very same night.
"It's been the best thing to happen to me, Katrina was a curse but it was also a gift because without it I wouldn't have got the opportunity to be with the Globetrotters."
The Globetrotters are known for their humour and an almost unbelievable skill-set - Lofton's signature move is a half court hook shot - all played out to their whistled theme song Sweet Georgia Brown.
Lofton, who is unbeaten in his eight seasons with the team, said fans can expect all the theatrics the Globetrotters are know for as well as plenty of improvisation.
"You're going to see a great family show, it doesn't matter if you're seven or seventy, a little kid or a grandmother.
"The show has been around for 87 years and of course you're going to see the things you're used to seeing in a Globetrotter game such as the water bucket, most likely a ladies purse is going to get taken, a little girl is going to get the ball spun on her finger, someone is going to get taken out on court to take a shot, I might eat a hotdog from somebody.
"Some of that stuff is going to happen, it's the reason we've been round for 87 years, but we're basketball players first so no matter what we do there's no tricks, there's no setting up, there's no choreographing the ball going in the basket."
Tickets for the Nelson show went on sale yesterday with almost half already snapped up while ticket to the other six shows are on sale now.
The first show will be at Auckland's North Shore Events Centre on May 25 with the last stop in Napier on May 31.
The Harlem Globetrotters come to Wellington on May 27. TSB Arena, 7.30pm. Tickets from ticketek.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you always wear a helmet while cycling?Related story: Cyclists creative on cycle helmet waivers