Kobe Bryant is a shooting guard. LeBron James plays small forward and Shaquille O’Neal was a center before he retired from the NBA.
Handles Franklin’s official position on the Harlem Globetrotters is that of showman.
Specifically, Franklin is known for dribbling the ball while lying on the floor and spinning his body around. He earned the name Handles, because that is how it looks, like the ball must have invisible handles for him to hold.
The Harlem Globetrotters have a full roster of players with equally outlandish ball skills. Scooter Christensen owns the world record for spinning a ball on his nose: 5.1 seconds. Ant Atkinson scored 22 four-point shots during a game last year. Four-pointers are a Globetrotter innovation — they score a basket from 35-feet away.
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Of course, Atkinson is also a NCAA Division II champion who brought his team from a seven-point deficit with 45 second left in the game. He scored 10 points to win the game.
Something one might forget about the Globetrotters among all the comedy and theatrics: the team really can play, which it has done for more than 90 years and in more than 20,000 games. Some fans remember players like Wilt Chamberlain and Meadowlark Lemon. Others will remember the Saturday morning cartoon (or at least the episode of “Scooby Doo”).
Generations of area fans have no doubt seen the team play, at the Selland Arena and now at the Save Mart Center, where they will be on Thursday, Jan. 15.