Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Features

December 23, 2011

Harlem Globetrotters to visit Batesville

Greensburg — BATESVILLE - The high-flying basketball antics of the historic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Batesville Jan. 11.

The noted b-ball club, famous for deftly mixing comedy with athletic prowess, will take the court at 7 p.m. at Batesville High School, facing off against their longtime arch-rival, the Washington Generals.

Globetrotter fans might be keenly aware that the Harlem squad holds a four-decade-long winning streak against the Generals.

According to Globetrotters star guard Tay "Firefly" Fisher, this is something fans can expect to see continue.

"It's important to continue the Curly Neal, Meadowlark Lemon tradition," said "Firefly," referencing two of the more popular Globetrotters from yesteryear. "We want to keep that going. That's number one."

Basketball fans will have the opportunity to see the unique talents of "Firefly" and his b-ball brethren in person Jan. 11, and the former sharp-shooting guard from Siena College has promised a show fans won't soon forget.

"Everything that we do, an ordinary person can't do," the Kingston, N.Y. native told the Daily News Wednesday afternoon. "We're happy to entertain and we want you (the fans) to enjoy yourselves."

"Firefly," who grew up a fan of the NBA's New York Knicks as well as other professional "Big Apple" sports teams, is known for sinking seemingly impossible shots from nearly anywhere on the basketball court.

Globetrotter games also feature a 35-foot four-point shot. A press release states that "Firefly" sank more than 350 of these shots during last year's tour.

Fisher's basketball acumen is likely nothing new to fans of the sport.

"Firefly's" time with the Siena College Saints in Loudonville, N.Y. helped mold the shooter's skills, while also introducing him to a great deal of hardwood success. The Saints upset Vanderbilt in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Fisher drained all six three-pointers he attempted in that contest.

Having been all over the world showcasing his basketball skills, "Firefly" is still excited at the prospect of playing in Batesville.

The third-year guard said this will be only his second trip to the Hoosier state, despite the fact his basketball career has taken him to nearly every corner of the globe.

That "globetrotting," both figurative and literal, has also resulted in a demanding schedule that puts the NBA's typical 82-game season to shame.

Fisher said that it's common for the Globetrotters to play more than 200 games during a tour. Tours typically last from December to mid-April.

But don't expect to hear any complaints from Tay Fisher.

"(The travel) is probably the hardest thing," he told the Daily News, "but it's also the most exciting."

"This is the life we chose, and we love doing it," Fisher said by phone Wednesday.

"I love to perform and make people smile, and there isn't a better way to do that than with the Harlem Globetrotters."

Fisher, who stands 5'9", stands out in a crowd due simply to his basketball talents.

His teammate, Paul "Tiny" Sturgess, gets noticed for other obvious reasons.

The tallest Globetrotter in history, "Tiny" is also the tallest professional basketball player in the world today.

The center stands 7'8", a full two inches taller than the recently-retired NBA star Yao Ming.

Yao, along with another famous former NBA big man, Shaquille O'Neal, are two of "Tiny's" basketball idols. His personal favorite athlete, however, has little in common with either of those two basketball giants.

Hailing from Loughborough, England, Sturgess cites soccer star and fellow UK native David Beckham as his primary inspiration in his athletic endeavors.

"He is a great ambassador for British sport and will always be one of my idols," Sturgess was quoted as saying in a press release.

"Tiny," despite his size is also a skilled soccer player.

Sturgess, a Globetrotters rookie, hopes to carry on the 86-year tradition of excellence established by his world-famous basketball squad.

"I feel very honored to be a part of the Harlem Globetrotters' prestigious history. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization, and to travel the world and meet many people from all walks of life," the center said through the same press release.

"Tiny" informed the Daily News that, in addition to himself and "Firefly" Fisher, the shortest Globetrotter in team history, 5'2" Jonte "Too Tall" Hall will join the team for their Batesville contest.

Other players expected to appear include John "Jet" Williams, "Special K" Daley, "Flight Time" Lang and former University of Cincinnati player Darnell "Spider" Wilkes.

In all, the 2011-2012 Harlem Globetrotters are comprised of 25 players. The team divides its stars so that it can play in multiple locations around the world simultaneously.

"Tiny" Sturgess noted that fellow rookie Fatima "TNT" Maddox is the squad's first female star since 1993. She previously played college basketball for Temple University.

The Harlem Globetrotters, a basketball institution for more than eight decades, were inducted as a franchise into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

The current Globetrotters tour is sponsored by Howard Johnson Hotels, Greyhound Lines, Spalding and Russell Athletic.

Tickets are available now at a cost of $24 and may be obtained online by visiting www.harlemglobetrotters.com or www.ticketweb.com. Additionally, tickets may be purchased at the Batesville High School box office or at the Batesville Chamber of Commerce Office.

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111, x7056

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