Harlem Globetrotters coming to NZ

By Steven Holloway

The Harlem Globetrotters are making their way back down-under in May and will play seven exhibition matches. Photo / Getty Images.
The Harlem Globetrotters are making their way back down-under in May and will play seven exhibition matches. Photo / Getty Images.

Move aside Breakers, there's a new basketball team coming to town and they claim to be more exciting, and boast an even longer unbeaten run.

The Harlem Globetrotters are making their way back down-under in May and will play seven exhibition matches on consecutive nights in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin, New Plymouth, Napier and Nelson.

The Globetrotters last played in New Zealand in 1999 and Nate "Big Easy" Lofton said it had been far too long since the Kiwi public had seen their unique blend of comedy, skill, gags and entertainment.

Lofton is a 6ft 9in gentle giant, who is known as the funniest member of the team, and proclaims to be the best looking.

He has toured with the Globetrotters for eight years and says the incredible travel opportunities, media exposure and unwavering win record make it the best job in the world.

"I've been to 70 countries in eight seasons, I've been on numerous TV shows, helped out at hospitals, schools, communities every day and done it with a smile on my face.

"My dream was to become a professional basketball player and that's what I'm doing. I'm in the home team every night, and I'm undefeated."

Lofton, who may best be known to Kiwi audiences for starring in the 15th series of the Amazing Race currently airing on TV2, has never been to New Zealand, but is excited to show off his signature half court hook shot to the locals.

"The show has been around for 87 years and of course you're going to see the things you're used to seeing in a Globetrotter game such as the water bucket, most likely a ladies purse is going to get taken, a little girl is going to get the ball spun on her finger, someone is going to get taken out on court to take a shot, I might eat a hotdog from somebody.

"Some of that stuff is going to happen, it's the reason we've been round for 87 years, but we're basketball players first so no matter what we do there's no tricks, there's no setting up, there's no choreographing the ball going in the basket."

"You're going to see a great family show, it doesn't matter if you're seven or seventy, a little kid or a grandmother."

The Globetrotters have visited more than 122 countries in their 87-year history, and usually face-off against other professional teams who are good, but perhaps not as determined to win as they might ordinarily be.

On the New Zealand tour they will compete against the Washington Generals, in a match sure to have as much razzle as it does dazzle.

Tickets for the Nelson show went on sale yesterday with almost half already snapped up while ticket to the other six shows are on sale now.

The first show will be at Auckland's North Shore Events Centre on May 25 with the last stop in Napier on May 31.

Dates: Auckland's North Shore Events Centre, May 25; Christchurch's Cowles Stadium, May 26; Wellington's TSB Arena, May 27; New Plymouth's TSB Stadium, May 28; Dunedin's Edgar Centre, May 29; Nelson's Trafalgar Centre, May 30; Napier's Pettigrew Arena, May 31. All matches start at 7.30pm.

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