The Harlem Globetrotters soar to Arizona

Fans can upgrade their tickets to have fun opportunities and experiences with the Harlem Globetrotters when they make multiple appearances in Arizona. (Photo courtesy of the Harlem Globetrotters) 

Harlem Globetrotters guard Saul “Flip” White Jr. feels fortunate.

This March, he and the rest of his team will bring their high-flying antics to four spots in Arizona as the team continues its Spread Game Tour.

“To see the smiles on the kids’ faces and also the parents’ faces, that’s always been, and still to this day, my favorite part,” White said.

The Globetrotters’ stops are 7 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at Tucson Arena; 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at the Footprint Center in Phoenix; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at Gila River Arena.

The appearances will bring fans new experiences from a dunk contest and funny characters during the four-quarter game. Fans can meet the Globetrotters afterward.

White comes from a family where basketball was always a part of life. He was introduced to the game at the age of 4, and one of his fondest basketball memories was his father holding him up to the hoop to dunk the basketball. White’s grandparents took him to Globetrotters games.

“I love entertaining people and putting smiles on their faces,” White said in his bio. “Being a Globetrotter means everything to me.”

White is known on the court for his acrobatics and athleticism.

Before becoming a Globetrotter, White played basketball at Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois, where he averaged 11 rebounds and 18 points per game. After college, White played in the International Basketball League before becoming a Globetrotter.

“It was a surreal moment at first,” White said. “When I got to training camp and saw everybody in a training camp, I’m like, ‘Oh, man, I’m really here.’”

Potential Globetrotters should remember there’s a difference between the team and the NBA.

“It’s different,” White said. “It helped me with basketball, but I had to learn the entertainment side and the tricks side once I became a Globetrotter.”

During his decade with the Globetrotters, White’s role has evolved.

“I’m 10 years in. I’m more of a team player. Now, I’m straight utility,” said White, a former “American Ninja Warrior” contestant.

“I ask, ‘What do you need me to do? This what you need me to do?’ I’m going to fill in, and I’m going to do what I do best.”

Basketball has one of the richest histories in sports. The team strives to stick to its original goals, while reaching newer generations.

“We’re still bringing those high-flying dunks, those amazing trick shots, those antics, but we want the new generation to know that it’s OK to have fun while we entertain, have fun while you play basketball and love what you do,” White said. “You’re a basketball player, love it.”

History of the Globetrotters

The team was founded in 1926 by Abe Saperstein and won its first World Basketball Championship in 1940. From there, the Globetrotters embarked on its first international tour in 1950 and have since traveled to all 50 states 123 countries or territories.

The Globetrotters helped popularize the basics of basketball, such as the slam dunk and fast break, as well as the point guard and forward positions.

Those who are unfamiliar with the legendary group may recognize some of the names that have donned the team’s jerseys — Wilt Chamberlain, Meadowlark Lemon, Fred “Curly” Neal and “Sweet” Lou Dunbar.

Thirteen of its players have been inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The team joined in 2002.