Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Washington Generals Most Unusual Venus: On The Roof Of The Wachovia Spectrum

Photo by Joenad. Used under the GNU Free Documentation Lisence

Although I unofficially started this series with my post about the Washington Generals first ever game on ice, I am now officially starting a new series of post with this blog.

Over the years that the Washington Generals have played against the Harlem Globetrotters, they have payed in some of the most unusual venues. While they are probably most commonly known to play the Trotters in some of the most famous NBA and College arenas in the US, they have shown that wherever you can bounce a basketball and set up two nets, they are there.

So in the interest of that, I thought I would begin spotlighting some of their most unusual places that the Generals have ever played the Globetrotters in.

For this installment we remember a game at the Wachovia Spectrum.

Originally opened in the fall of 1967, the Spectrum was the home to the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL and the 76ers of the NBA. It was also a frequent venue for the Washington Generals.  

The Generals first played in the Spectrum on December 2, 1967 in a game against the Globetrotters. The Washington Generals continued to play the Trotters at the spectrum every year after that, playing 72 games at the historic complex. Their last game was in 1997, after which they moved their games to the nearby Wachovia Center. 

In 2009 it was announced that the Wachovia Spectrum would be demolished. Wanting to pay tribute to the arena that had welcomed both teams for so long, the Washignton Generals and Harlem Globetrotters scheduled one final game at the Spectrum.

But this game would not be played inside the arena. For this farewell event at the spectrum, Americas eternal visiting team took on the Harlem Globetrotters on the roof of the historic arena. Cranes lifted the basketball hoops onto the roof of the building, as a basketball court was drawn out and players scaled the catwalks to climb up on the roof.

Both teams played in their dress uniforms, to provide some protection from the winter weather. Which was made even colder by being so high up off the ground. 

The game lasted for only 19 minutes and 67 seconds, in dedication to the Spectrum first opening in 1967. All of the familiar tricks were there, or at least as many as they could squeeze into such a short period of time, but there was no audience except for some select media. 

Children were allowed to watch the game at the Wachovia Center across the street, however . Binoculars were made available and I am sure the magic of seeing the Generals take on the Trotters was not lost on them, even from so far away. 

The Generals payed a game the following day in the Wachovia Center, where it was warm and seats were plentiful. Both teams have called the Center their regular stop since then as they had since 1997. But once more they showed that on the roof or in the arena, there is nowhere that the Washington Generals and Harlem Globetrotters won't bring their magic. 

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