Stepping Out

Antics on the court

Harlem Globetrotters are ready for their fans with plenty of 'tricks'

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Those quick-fingered hoops stars are back for the holiday season with their special brand of basketball. Expect plenty of action when the Globetrotters bring their game to Nassau Coliseum, next Friday, Dec. 28, at 2 and 7 p.m.

Continually pushing and expanding the sport of basketball, the Globetrotters continue to set new marks. Or rather, new distances.

Of course, there’s that 4-point line, which debuted in 2017. The line is located 30 feet from the basket — 6 feet, 3 inches beyond the top of the NBA’s current three-point line. It’s a move that comes six years after the team unveiled the four-point shot to worldwide acclaim. The Globetrotters previously used a four-point circle, two on each side of the court, to designate a four-point shot since they first introduced it in 2010.

It’s one of the most exciting shots in the game,” according to Globetrotters President Howard Smith. He noted at the time “the creation of the 4-point line shows that once again, the Harlem Globetrotters are ahead of the curve when it comes to basketball innovation.”

Always in the cutting edge, with an eye on that record book, the team brings their tour here with five new world records in tow. The new record-breaking tricks — all garnering attention among observers and the athletes — are highlighted by Bull Bullard’s impressive somersault shot. Bullard, a 6’4” guard and 2008 Globetrotters draft pick, hit the shot from an astonishing 58 feet away from the hoop, landing a standing back flip.

This is actually nothing new for Bullard; the shot-making whiz finished second in the college slam dunk championship at the 2008 Final Four, collecting one of only two perfect scores awarded in the competition. He’s also appeared on three seasons of NBC’s popular competition “American Ninja Warrior,” where he made it to the Las Vegas finals in 2012, without ever having seen any of the obstacles.

Bullard is joined by fellow guard Torch George, who joined the team in 2017, one of the most electrifying scorers on the Globetrotters roster. The 5’3’’ George made history by recording the most under the leg tumbles in one minute (32 in all), becoming the first of the team’s female stars to own a world record title.

Other records of note include those of Zeus McClurkin, the 6’8” forward, known for his personality and crazy trick shots. He accumulated his latest world records for the most blindfolded basketball slam dunks in one minute (five) and most behind-the-back three-pointers in one minute (three).

A Globetrotters event, is of course, always a spectacle of ball handling wizardry, dunks, trick shots, comedy and fan interaction. “Our fans are very important to us,” says El Gato Melendez. “We always want to figure out way to involve the fans as much as possible.”

For their latest tour that means having fans even more closely involved in the action than ever, with numerous opportunities during the game to interact with players.

“We’re calling this tour ‘fan powered,” says Melendez. “We always have great interaction with our fans, but now it’s even better. Our audience will dictate what [shots] they want to see. It’s super-interactive and fun for us and the fans.”

The 6’8” forward, who’s been with the team since 2008, is the Globetrotter’s first — and only — Puerto Rican player.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment to be able to play for the Globetrotters. Back when I was growing up in Puerto Rico, I saw them on TV and thought these guys are so cool. I’m privileged to be a part of the organization’s great history.”

He relishes the opportunity that being a Harlem Globetrotter gives him. “As a Latino, I can make a difference in the lives of others and be an inspiration, showing kids that you can really make your dreams come true,” he says.

“Every time I see someone smile, just by us spinning a ball, it fills my heart,” he adds.

Harlem Globetrotters

When: Friday, Dec. 28, 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets start $26.50.

Where: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale. Tickets available at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.harlemglobetrotters.com or Nassau Coliseum box office.