The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 3, 2014

Globetrotters earn laughs, victory

— About a year ago, Corey “Thunder” Law was competing in a postseason slam dunk contest after his college career ended at High Point University in North Carolina.

“I was thinking that was going to be my last basketball moment,” Law said. “I thought I’d have to get a regular job. After the dunk contest, I went back to school and graduated.”

A day after Law graduated from college, he received a phone call saying that he was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters.

“I thought I was being pranked,” said Law, who performed his first show as a Globetrotter on Dec. 26, 2013. “I had no idea the Globetrotters were interested in me. It was definitely a surreal moment.”

Less than a year after receiving the call, Law is traveling the world and entertaining fans as a member of the one and only Harlem Globetrotters.

Law helped entertain fans with the team’s unique mix of comedy and basketball on Thursday night at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin.

“When you’re a kid, you always have dreams,” Law said. “When you’re in sports, you want to make it to the top. Being a member of the Globetrotters is like a double dream. I’m a professional basketball player, and I’m traveling the world and putting smiles on people’s faces.”

Of course, the Globetrotters won. Harlem pulled together a not-so-surprising rally in the final minutes to defeat the World All-Stars 81-74.

But the game was secondary to creating a laugh or wide eyes and a dropped jaw.

All of the usual antics were there — the confetti trick, the slow motion instant replay, the dancing and the interaction with the crowd.

“This is my fourth show, and it’s awesome,” said 12-year-old Carthage resident Joe Nicholas, who took part in the team’s pregame Magic Pass where children could do drills with the Globetrotters. “It’s really fun. All the players interact with you and have fun even if you’re not that good.”

Peyten Shannon, of Grove, Okla., was pulled from the crowd and asked to make a shot on behalf of the Globetrotters. After several attempts, the 7-year-old’s shot rolled in. He received a signed jersey from clown prince Nate “Big Easy” Lofton for his effort.

“Since I play basketball, I thought I could make it,” Shannon said. “This was my favorite. When’s the next show?”

Despite the antics, the Globetrotters’ considerable basketball skills also were on display. Shane “Scooter” Christensen made a shot after spinning the basketball on his head, and Donte “Hammer” Harrison dunked two basketballs at one time as the part of the game’s first quarter trick shot challenge. Fatima “TNT” Maddox, the Globetrotters’ ninth female player in history, showed off her dribbling wizardry. Other Globetrotters poured in 4-point shots and rim-rattling slam dunks.

Law, who set the Guinness World Record for the longest made basketball shot (109 feet, 9 inches) earlier this year, said it didn’t take him long to realize that the Globertrotters were about more than jokes.

“I’m one of the youngest guys on the team,” he said. “I came in to training camp thinking, ‘yeah, they have trick shots, but I’m going to kill them. I’m going to be in way better shape.’

“As soon as I get to training camp, I’m playing with Big Easy and see how well he can play. The first thing they told me was, ‘don’t let these tricks fool you, we’re basketball players.’ When you see that, you definitely gain a lot of respect for them. They’re great at what they do.”

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