The Harlem Globetrotters Cruise into South Africa

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PPI participants with “Handles” Franklin (center) and “Buckets” Blakes” (left). Handles thought this visit was two thumbs up!

Last week, PPI-SA partnered up with the Harlem Globetrotters, who delivered a special private clinic to 20 PPI Participants and five coaches. PPI Coach Sphelele “Microwave” reflects on the experience:

I had never heard of the Harlem Globetrotters before last week. When I heard that they were hosting an event for kids in the PPI Programme and that I was selected as the coach from my area to attend I was excited, but didn’t know what to expect.

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The Globetrotters included some PPI participants in their tricks.

After attending the event, I now know that the Harlem Globetrotters are more than just a basketball team. They are freestyle ballers, entertainers and motivators who travel around the world motivating youth.

Twenty Primary and Secondary scholars from across PPI Programme communities were selected to attend. It was cool to see Umlazi, Lamontville, Wentworth and the city all represented. I was one of five coaches that went.

The event wasn’t necessarily what I expected. It was held in a small hotel ballroom at the Sibaya Casino, but the two Globetrotters, Chris “Handles” Franklin and Anthony “Buckets” Blakes made the best of it. They started off telling us a little about themselves and doing some fancy dribbling with the ball. Then they got some of the kids and adults involved, bringing them up to try different tricks and compete in some fun games. The coolest trick of all was watching Buckets spin the ball on his finger and move it around his body in between his hands as he was speaking.

After that, Handles gave us coaches and the kids an inspirational talk, which I really enjoyed. He gave us four different points to remember:

  1. Get an education: Handles was incredibly passionate about reading and learning. He told us that even though he plays basketball for a living, he earned his Master’s Degree and encouraged the kids to work hard in school.

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    I got to take meet Buckets and Handles after the clinic. We look good!

  2. Listen to your teachers and parents: No one can do it on their own. Handles advised us to listen to those in our lives that are there to help us, like our parents and teachers.
  3. Follow your dreams: Handles was incredibly passionate about pushing kids to follow their dreams. He told us a little about how he grew up wanting to play for the Harlem Globetrotters, and how all his friends told him it would never happen. He never let that discourage him, though, and has now been with the Globetrotters for 12 years.
  4. Be the best you that you can be: Buckets wrapped up the last point for us, pushing us to try our hardest in whatever we do.

I really enjoyed the event and it was even cooler to meet the two guys in person afterwards. I also think it was great for PPI’s participants on so many different levels. I can’t wait to see the Globetrotters live in Durban next month!

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