Harlem Globetrotters: 'The fans are always leaving in a good mood; nobody leaves sad'
EUGENE, Ore. - The Harlem Globetrotters provided a night of basketball entertainment and showmanship at the Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene Sunday night.
The 4:30 p.m. game was part of the Globetrotters 2017 World Tour.
Tickets cost $26.50 and a magic pass cost an additional $22. Magic passes offered a pre-game opportunity for fans to learn tricks, shoot hoops, and meet players.
Harlem Globetrotter Kris "Hi-Lite" Bruton has been with the Globetrotters for 16 seasons and said he enjoys the magic pass session.
“My favorite part is interacting with our fans and getting to see how they feel about our show,” Bruton said.
After playing college basketball, Bruton was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.
A thigh injury ended his NBA career.
To continue playing basketball and perfect his slam-dunk shots, he joined the Harlem Globetrotters.
“Since I’ve been a part of the Globetrotters, it’s been a fun time," Bruton said. "It’s been the best time of my whole basketball career. We’re America’s team, so no matter what happens on the court, the fans are always leaving in a good mood; nobody leaves sad."
Many families with kids attended the magic pass session.
Bobby and Karen Lamar drove from Salem, Ore., with their young son Kian, a major basketball fan, for his first Harlem Globetrotters' game.
Bobby and Karen have fond memories of the Globetrotters because they attended a game on one of their first dates.
“It’s fun basketball," Bobby Lamar said. "It has elements of real basketball, but there is a lot of entertainment.”
After the magic pass session, the game started with an appearance from the Globetrotters' mascot, Globie, who got the crowd rooting for the Globetrotters to beat their rivals, the World Allstars.
The World Allstars features Paul Sturgess, aka "Cager,” who is nearly 7-feet, 8-inches tall.
The teams played four 10-minute quarters, filled with competitive basketball, shooting feats, basketball tricks, and humor.
"Hi-Lite" would often mock the referees and bring kids on the court to help the Globetrotters.
At one point, Globetrotter DeAndre Taylor, aka "Dragon," climbed on top of a basketball hoop and danced while kicking opponents' shots away from the basket.
The Globetrotters also performed many of their famous dunking and long-range shots.
The game lasted over two hours and ended with the crowd on their feet, and the Globetrotters beating the Allstars on a last-second, buzzer beating finish.
The Globetrotters are one team, but have three different traveling units. They tour for six months out of the year.
Briana Greenwill, aka "Hoops," is the only woman in her traveling unit. She said she loves being a part of the Globetrotters.
“I love travelling," Greenwill said. "It's a lot of fun to be able to do what you love and to be an inspiration."
This is Greenwill's rookie season as a Globetrotter. She said she hopes to continue playing for them because she loves interacting with fans and playing basketball.
“It’s been something I have always been passionate about," Greenwill said. "My brother got me into basketball. It's something I really love, and it got me to where I am now."