The NBA Is Not Adding The Harlem Globetrotters To Its League

The BAA and NBA needed the Globbies once.

The owners of the Harlem Globetrotters want to become a part of the National Basketball Association and want a franchise. It is not happening. The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team does pre-date all 30 NBA franchises as Abe Saperstein put the squad together in the Chicago area in 1927. Saperstein was in line to get an NBA team in the late 1950s in California but Bob Short moved his Minneapolis Lakers franchise to Los Angeles ending that opportunity. For some reason, the NBA owners of the 1950s didn’t want Saperstein even though they made money when he brought his Harlem Globetrotters to play the opening game of a doubleheader and draw crowds at their arenas. In 1961, Saperstein founded the American Basketball League which went out of business by 1963. The league’s legacy is the three-point play.

The Globetrotters franchise is owned by Herschend Family Entertainment. The NBA is not a traveling roadshow so the team would have to be anchored in one city. But it is not happening. The organization did put out a statement requesting a team and its reasons that the NBA should seriously consider the Globetrotters request. “Based on what we’ve already proven, we can field a team of talent on par with the pros of today, and we want the chance to do that. As a world renowned and legendary professional basketball team, we petition Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA governors and the powers that be to grant The Original Harlem Globetrotters an NBA franchise. Not now, but right now!” The Harlem Globetrotters did play the Minneapolis Lakers of the Basketball Association of America in the 1940s. Saperstein started losing players to the NBA when the league began hiring African-America players in 1950, four years after the league started. The Harlem Globetrotters brand was once bigger than the NBA.

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FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2008, file photo, the Harlem Globetrotters’ Fred “Curly” Neal performs during a timeout in the second quarter in an NBA basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix. Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of three decades, has died the Globetrotters announced Thursday, March 26, 2020. He was 77. Neal played for the Globetrotters from 1963-85, appearing in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries for the exhibition team known for its combination of comedy and athleticism. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)