Moose Weeks (above left) and Dizzy English (above right) are a pair of real life, legit Harlem Globetrotters. They were in London to talk about their upcoming arena tour across the UK next May so we thought we’d have a chat about what life is like as a player in one of the most famous sports teams in the world.
Have you ever been on vacation where people don’t recognise you and ended up accidentally hustling people at basketball?
Moose – That’s a crazy scenario.
Dizzy – I haven’t been to a place where basketball hasn’t touched. For the most part, wherever we travel there’s going to be basketball there. It’s a universal sport. If you don’t got a hoop, you ball up paper and throw it in the trash.. that’s basketball! We do sometimes go to a YMCA on our off days and play in just regular clothes.
Moose – People say “Hey, do you guys play for anybody, because you really should – have you ever thought about it!”
You should go back the next day wearing your Globetrotters kit…
Moose [laughing] – And say to the guy, “thanks so much for your advice, man! I made it, I made it! I’m gonna give you tickets to the game tonight.”
The world’s pretty messy at the moment. Do people just want to come to your games to be entertained and switch off about everything else?
Dizzy – I think people just really want to escape the stresses of their every day life and come to the arena and leave their worries behind. They know they’re going to have a good time and see some things they’ve never seen before. It’s something that you and your family can enjoy and treasure for a lifetime. That’s something that we’re really big on – creating lifelong, positive memories.
Moose – To be able to be in a position where you’re in charge of someone’s treasured memories; we don’t take that lightly. That’s why I think our fans appreciate it and know that this isn’t just a pay cheque for us. We love what we do and we love our fans and we love London!
Some people might not realise that there is an element of spectacle to your games but they are actual, competitive basketball matches.
Dizzy – Our game isn’t like everybody else’s game. A lot of the stuff you see in the NBA now, we originated. We found a different way to make basketball fun for everyone, we play competitive basketball but add a little flair to it.
Even places that don’t know much about basketball must have heard of you guys, right?
Dizzy – We’ve been around for 92 years so we don’t really go to places where people haven’t heard of us! We were a worldwide team before anyone. It’s so much easier for us to go across the world and interact with people because we’ve been doing it for so long. We’ve been around the world a million times in 92 years!
Moose – And if they don’t speak the language or are a younger generation then we just reel them in with the basketball magic! You just get people looking at the basketball and marvelling at the tricks we can do.
Being a Harlem Globetrotter must be different to being in other teams as you’ve such a long history to uphold and representing must be a bit of an honour?
Moose – It’s definitely an honour. It’s such an important thing to know your history when you come in as a Harlem Globetrotter because it’s a part of not only American history, but black history and world history. We introduced the game of basketball to various points across the globe – and upholding that legacy is a really special thing. Also having the segregated times when the Globetrotters didn’t play in mixed crowds, we’ve been able to be a part of something that has bridged social barriers. And even gender barriers as we have female Globetrotters. There is so much history in this basketball culture – the game of basketball wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for the Harlem Globetrotters.
You’ve had honorary Globetrotters over the years; is there anyone you’d love to play on your team?
Moose – I haven’t thought about that before!
Dizzy – I would just want to see Kevin Hart and Too Tall from our team get together. Too Tall’s five foot two. He’s an amazing player and person and I’d love to see him and somebody as funny as Kevin Hart go together, I can’t imagine not laughing for the whole time. That would be hilarious.
The Original Harlem Globetrotters – Magic Pass UK Arena tour runs from 17th – 28th May. Tickets and info here.