I caught up with a few of the Harlem Globetrotters while they were on a shoot at the William F. Passannante Ballfield in the West Village. A nearby elementary school uses the park as a playground during school hours, and the Globetrotters mingled with the kids, juggling balls and answering questions between takes. The shoot itself was a choreographed routine of impressive ball skills, not only by the Globetrotters themselves, but a group of about a dozen cast members from STOMP who created a percussive rhythm with some fancy dribbling.
Basketball isn’t the only thing on the Globetrotter’s minds though. Here’s what they read when they aren’t on the court:
My name is "Bull" Bullard and I’m currently reading Sports Illustrated because right now college football is my thing. It’s always Sports Illustrated or something sports related because I try to keep up with the college football, the NBA and college basketball. That’s mostly what I read in my personal time, but I do read other books: spiritual books—of course The Bible—and I read a lot of other books. I have a daughter so I read all the children’s books right now. My daughter’s favorite book, I think, is the Caterpillar. She’s starting to realize her colors (she’s 1½, almost 2 now) and she loves to point them out.”
“My name is "Firefly" Fisher, I’m with the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters and I LOVE to read! I’m reading a book right now called The Alchemist and somebody actually told me to read it because they said it inspired them. I love to read books that I feel will inspire me, something that will help me out on the road—we’re on the road for about 8 or 9 months a year. I love Dr. Seuss, and I love to read a book called The Monster who Ate my Peas to kids. They love that because it’s a rhyming book. I love to read to kids as well: I’ve got a Nook so I make sure I read as much as I can because it’s very important, especially for kids when they’re really young so they can learn that reading is very fun and is something that you’re going to need to do for your future in order to be successful.”
“My name is Handles Franklin, I’m a member of the world Famous Harlem Globetrotters and right now I’m reading a book called The Audacity of Hope, written by President Barack Obama.”
Bull wasn’t kidding when he said college football was his thing: earlier between takes a neighborhood child handed him a football. He told them to go long and then kept waving them farther back. When he finally threw the ball it came seriously close to floating over the fence and out of the park entirely. A later Google search of him revealed another major feat: completing a run on American Ninja! Putting some of those skills to use after the shoot wrapped, Bull climbed up on one of the hoops for a photo op, and then made this impressive shot: