With recent talks of expansion in the NBA, the Harlem Globetrotters are looking for a long-awaited seat at the table and are actively seeking to become an official NBA team releasing a letter to commissioner Adam Silver, per CBS Sports’ Chris Bengel.
“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,” the Globetrotters wrote, per CBS Sports. “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 Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of thousands of fans since they were founded in 1926, dazzling crowds across the nation with their eccentric dunks and unconventional styles of play.
The “worldwide icons” even played a role in the integration of the league when former Globetrotter Nathaniel Clifton suited up for the New York Knicks, becoming the first Black player to sign an NBA contract in 1950. Other former players that followed suit include Connie Hawkins and Wilt Chamberlain.
“We continued to pack arenas and grow the game of basketball across the globe,” the Globetrotters wrote, per CBS. “When the NBA struggled to draw more than a few thousand fans, we agreed to schedule doubleheaders featuring the Globetrotters. As the NBA grew, you were able to attract the best Black players, but we remember who helped the NBA get it all started … don’t get it twisted; basketball would not be what it is today without us.”
As the NBA continues to grow as a business, the Globetrotters feel its time that they are honored and included considering the support they’ve given throughout the years.
“Congratulations on growing into a multi-billion-dollar industry with international endeavors and huge media deals,” the Globetrotters wrote added, per CBS Sports “… It’s time to right the wrongs and rewrite history. It’s time for the NBA to honor what the Globetrotters have done for OUR sport, both here in the U.S. and around the globe.”