Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bloomberg TV Interviews Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider About China Tour

Bloomberg TV recently interviewed Globetrotter CEO, Kurt Schneider about many subjects relating to the Globetrotters current business plan, most notably their upcoming China Tour. As has been reportedbefore, the Globetrotters have huge and very aggressive plans to market the team in China, an help make them to an extent help claim the Globetrotters as their own.

While obviously the interview is about the Trotters success in China is both beneficial to the Generals aka International Elite (or whoever they will be playing as over there come this Summer) but will be dependent in a large extend on the quality of the games. Which as anyone knows, is reliant not just on the Globetrotters playing a great game and giving a great performance, but on the Elite's performance as well.

Here is the interview for anyone interested.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Randomness 34th Edition

Photo by Shawn Kimball.
Used under creative commons.
The NWI Times wrote a good article about the International Elite's game in Valparaiso, IN. Obviously the focus was on the Globetrotters but they did give the Elite credit for making the trotters come back from an 8-point lead by the Elite at halftime. They also mentioned and quoted former Washington General, and current Globetrotter, Jonte Hall in the article. You can read it all by CLICKING HERE!

I found a great article from The Morning Call about the Generals written in 1988. It includes interviews with  some of the 87-88 team (one of the best Generals teams ever in my opinion) including Nancy Lieberman, George Aldrich,Todd Bailey and the man himself Red Klotz. To read it CLICK HERE!

The International Elite will be helping the Globetrotters break in  the new basketball court at the WesBanco Arena's in Wheeling, OH at 2PM tomorrow. An interview about the game with Globetrotter 'Sick' Willie Shaw can be found HERE!

And to end this Randomness post, here is a video clip of the final seconds of a game between the Elite and Globetrotters.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Thoughts On The International Elite vs Harlem Globetrotters 1/22/12 Game In Oklahoma City.

The International Elite finally came to town to take on the Harlem Globetrotters, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in my home town of Oklahoma City, OK.

So as you can imagine, there is no where else I was going to be that afternoon, then to cheer on the Elite as they once more chased the illusive win. I held out fools hope that with the new names and cool black uniforms their luck would change.

I went to the game with my 10 year old nephew as well as a friend and a kid who he was babysitting. All three of them were seeing a Globetrotter game for the first time; so I was happy to be introducing three people to the fun I've been having since I was a kid.

Even if they did cheer the Globetrotters, what front runners!

I knew about the Washington Generals name change, as anyone who follows this blog will tell you. But I didn't know if it was going to be the International Elite or Global Select playing in Oklahoma City until I got there.

I was happy they were playing as the Elite, I won't lie. Of course I would have been happier had they played as the Washington Generals. But that wasn't in the cards.

I'm sure the "Global Select" name will grow on m, but I like the name "International Elite" much better. Not to mention I much prefer the black and yellow to white and yellow.

I knew about the story line they are doing this tour of the "World Championship" but I thought it was a nice touch with the twist that the losing team would not be back for next years tour. We all knew that the Globetrotters were in no danger, but it was a nice twist adding some "real" stakes to the game. If that makes sense.

The Elite were also billed at the beginning as being an "undefeated team" who climbed the ranks and won a prior tournament giving them the right to play the Globetrotters for this "important championship game." They even got a cheer from the fans when this back story was explained.

It was a change from the team, who since abandoning their New York Nationals persona several years back, have been portrayed as cheating bad guys for a while now. While I am sorry the Generals name is gone, at least for now, I do like that with the new name came a persona that doesn't try to hide the fact at the end of the day these are credible ball players.

I do wonder if the "stakes" means this name change to the Elite/Select is just for this tour. Maybe that's wishful thinking, in fact it most likely is. Besides, it could mean they will be playing under new name every tour now, for all I know.

It could also be that's the reason they are playing under two different names, ergo next season Oklahoma City will see the Global Select play the Trotters. Although I don't see them going to the trouble to keep track of which persona played where. They may just assume we'll forget this twist next year. As far as most fans are concerned they wouldn't be wrong.

Either way it was a nice "story line" and the trophy they were "competing for" was a very nice and impressive one. The kid my friend brought was very impressed by it, so props to whoever designed it. I got a good picture of it with the games D.J. He was nice enough to pose with it for me as I went to take a picture before we took our seats.

This is what it's all for! - Photo by Dan Pratt
Indecently, I had to fight security when I entered for the right to take that picture. Apparently they can't tell the difference between a digital camera larger than a credit card and a camcorder. True story!

Globie and company put on a good comedy show to warm up the crowd, or I guess it was good. I wasn't exactly enthralled but the kits all loved it, including the two in my party. So who am I to argue with that?

The game got underway and it was a typical great display of basketball and comedy that both the Generals (Elite) and the Globetrotters are known for.

In fact they made a real effort to have the Elite play a bit more like "legit" contenders, in line with the storyline. As while they were made fools of like always, some of the reams such as the "ball under the shirt" one were not present, making the team look a little less prone to "looking like idiots". For lack of a better word.

It was Special K's team taking on Sam Worthen's group of Washington Generals. Now, I take nothing away from Big Easy who is a great showman and getting to see "TNT" Maddox and Jacob "Hops" Tucker in action was awesome, not to mention Scotter and Handles were on hand and both are a lot of fun to watch. Scooter is actually my favorite of the Trotters.

But I was sorry that it wasn't Special K and co. only beacause Jonte "Too Tall" Hall and Derick "Dizzy" Grant, the two current Globetrotters to have once played for the Generals, were both absent from Oklahoma City.

It was also kind of a disappointing not to see Anthony Smith playing for the Elite/Select, as he is also with the other touring squad.

But both of those are minor squabbles. Just like their counterparts on the other squad, Sam Worthen and his boys did what they do best, played great basketball while never outshining the Globetrotters.

The 4-point circle from last season returned. Us Elite fans got a small victory out of it, as it was a member of the Elite, not the Globetrotters, who scored the first 4-point shot of the game.

In fact the Elite played good the entire game, taking the lead more than once that day and missing very few baskets. The definitely forced the Trotters to earn their victory that night.

The penalty box was back also, although it was used a bit differently.

Unlike last season, apparently Sam Worthen's checks started bouncing. The Elite were sent the the penalty box more than once that night, and in fact one of the Elite was the first to go to the penalty box. (I believe it was James Vilsaint, but as many will attest the referees and announcers are apparently forbidden to call the Elite players by name. So I may be wrong.)

Although the Globetrotters usually went to the penalty box leaving themselves a man, or two, or three short there were some times where members of both teams went to the penalty box. That included the pantsing, which probably for the first time in the history of that ream, there were actual consequences. Both Big Easy and the Elite's Vilsaint were sent to the penalty box after Big Easy pantsed Vilsaint, and the Elite's retaliation.

They clearly tried to make the penalty box element look more "legit" this season, to go in line with this being a championship game with big stakes. Although I still don't get how the Trotters teasing an Elite by throwing the ball over, between the legs, and around one Elite, then tricking another Elite to catch the ball right before it goes out of bounds, got the two offending Trotters AND the two Elite players sent to the penalty box. What did they do? Apparently the "don't spread your legs too far" rule was in effect.

Most of the usual reams were there. A purse was stolen, followed by a pretty and half-embarrassed giggling girl being propositioned for a kiss for returning it, confetti was thrown, Generals lost their uniformes doing a layup (which was a big hit with my nephew), and the weave was in full effect. No Globetrotter Football, which was a shame, they must have run out of time.

There was also a nice few minutes in the beginning of the final quarter, with the game close, where the teams briefly dropped the gags and played some real basketball. Showing how good of players both teams were under the showmanship.

Tonight was not the Elite's night, with the Globetrotters winning 105-100.

But a good time was had by all including the three new Globetrotter fans I inducted that night. Now I have a whole year to work on getting them to see it is the International Elite who they should truly become the fans of.

My nephew stayed for the autographs and managed to get his brand new red, white and blue ball signed by Bull, Bones, Bingo, and Jacob "Hops" Tucker (the later of which seemed to get a kick when I told him I was a fan of his YouTube videos).

On a quick note about the Trotters. I was impressed with the rookie Trotters who I saw in action for the first time after all the hype. Hops and TNT were especially impressive, and I have a feeling fans could be seeing them torment the Generals for many years to come.

Can't wait until next year!

Better luck next time Elite!

All photos in this post were taken by me (Dan Pratt) and are available for re-use under creative commons attribution 2.0 Generic lisence.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Elite/Select Come To My Home Town

The Chesapeake Energy Arena (home of the Thunder) in Oklahoma City.
Site of tomorrows "epic" championship game. Photo by Dan Pratt. 
Tomorrow afternoon the International Elite/Global Select will be coming to my home town of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. To take on the Globetrotters for the "World Championship Game". And as most of you will probably guess, I can't wait.

I will be going with my nephew as well as a friend and it will be my nephews introduction to the Globetrotter games. I am sure he will cheer the Globetrotters, but that's OK. The teams games against the Globetrotters are all about having fun. He can cheer for the referees, and as long as he enjoys himself it will be a success.

My friend has never seen a Generals/Globetrotter game before either. Although he of course knows a bit more about them than my nephew being an adult. So I am looking forward to introducing two people to the fun that is a Globetrotter game.

I will hopefully have some pics and my thoughts on the game up within 24 hours of the game, which tips off at 2PM. So come back soon.

And look out Select/Elite, your biggest fan (or at least your biggest fan to not have their kid playing on the team) is coming to cheer you on. You will be able to spot me easily, I will be the one in the Washington Generals T-Shirt. That should narrow it down.

Could January 23rd finally be their night? Stay tuned.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Randomness 33rd Edition

Photo by Kari Jasus. Used under creative commons.
Jew or Not Jet posted an excellent profile on the man himself, Red Klotz. To read it CLICK HERE!

Former New York National turned Harlem Globetrotter Derick "Dizzy" Grant had a good story about his visit to a prediatric ward in Evansville. To read it CLICK HERE!

The Harlem Globetrotters got their own playlist on  YouTube, and among the videos were the one recently showcased on this blog, featuring the Old Spice MANtaclause. And it was introduced by none other than former New York National and current Harlem Globetrotter, "Dizzy" Grant. Dizzy's first video of impressions of NBA players also made the playlist.

Indecently, it's awesome the Old Spice video is on there, but it once more makes me ask why the name change. Although the people running the Harlem Globetrotters YouTube channel likeley aren't the same ones who would make the call on the Generals name change. (It's also possible it was the Generals decision. I don't claim to have insider knowledge. But in the past they have never changed their names without the Globetrotters requesting them to do so.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Coverage from a 12-26-11 Game

YouTube user BCooney42 posted a video of the one of the first games of the current tour. It contained almost the entire 4th quarter. Which started with the International Elite only behind by 2 points, and while the Trotters kept the lead, the Elite managed to keep the game close the whole quarter.

I of course love a close game between the Trotters and "Generals". Aside from being the closest us fans ever get to seeing them win, it makes for a more exciting game. Even knowing who is going to win, it keeps it more exciting when the Elite can keep it competitive. I have sat through some games where the Trotters have won by 20 or more points. And even the fun shenanigans, It can be hard to stay interested if there isn't an illusion of it being competitive.

That is especially true this tour, since they are doing a storyline of a "Championship" game. Yes Championship games aren't always close. But you ever seen a sports movie where the heroes win the final, championship game in a blowout. Not often and for good reason.

The video quality isn't great, it was clearly filmed with a cell phone. It gets shaky, and sometimes is hard to tell who is who. But it's still great to get a feel for the game with such a long video.

Incedently, there was also a fun bit with the Elite and trotters around the 5 minute mark. Also the infamous panting near the end. Not sure I like them adding the element of both players (The Elite and the Trotters) going to the penalty box. Although last season I did find it weird that the referees kept putting the Trotters in the penalty box all game, but let that one slide.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Randomness 32nd edition

Photo by Nate McBean. Used under creative commons. recently did a brief article about the upcoming game in the Mohegan Sun about former Washington General turned Harlem Globetrotter Derick "Dizzy" Grant. CLICK HERE!

I found a nice review of the game in Allstate Arena. You can CLICK HERE to read it.

I came across an article talking about Red Klotz from all the way back in 1984. It's an interesting look into the past of how the Generals and Trotters were seen in a bygone decade. To read it CLICK HERE!

And for another blast from the past, here is an article on former Washington General Dave Boettcher. To read it CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mr. Excel Makes Bold Prediction In Favor Of The Generals

The Washington Generals have found an unlikely supporter in the form of YouTube podcaster Mr. Excel.

For those who don't know who that is, Mr. Excel does a series of vlogs showing tutorials on how to operate Microsoft Excel. Which indecently I suck at, maybe I should watch some of them myself.

In his latest video, Mr. Excel (who it's clear from the podcast is a big fan of the Generals/Globetrotter games) makes the prediction that this season the "Washington Generals" (apparently he isn't a big enough fan to know they aren't using that name this tour.) will shock the world and win a game.

He figures with the rule of foul shots being made from the 4-point line, that the Generals in one of their closer games will get an "accidental win" should they get fouled making a 4-point shot and then make the penalty 4-point shot.

I love this theory, even though I don't necessarily agree with it.

For one, anyone who has been lucky enough to see one of their first games of the season , or watch the YouTube videos like I do, will tell you that the refferees are calling it more impartially now. Either coaches Harrison and Worthen's check's started bouncing, or no one explained to them that the deal included the Select and Elite. So I wouldn't be surprised if the 4-point shot penalties, which were clearly being used to try and benefit the Generals, are no more.

There's also the fact that while the Generals could theoretically take a good lead, were they to score 8 points that way, but that bit doesn't usually happen that late in the game. So the trotters wouldn't be able to pull out enough reams to bridge the gap in that scenario. After all these years the safetys are definitely in place now, they learned something from 1971.

I will say one thing however. When I first heard of the 4-point shot, I did think that if the Generals were hot they could theoretically rack up enough of a lead to make it hard for the Trotters to catch up. Not saying I would bet money on it happening, but his theory might not be as far off as some might think. Even if it probably was made tongue in cheek.

On a final note were something like that to actually happen, unlikely as it might be. It would be ironic if the Generals were to beat the trotters for the first time in over 40 years, but they did it while once again playing under a different name.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What's In A Name? - My Thoughts On The Generals Current New Personas

We are a week into the 2012 tour and the confusion I expected has already begun. As anyone who has seen tweets given by fans during the game will tell you most are confused by where the Generals are, and what's up with the black, white, and yellow running across the court.

U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Marie Brown
America now knows what fans in the Middle East, France and some of our boys and girls serving our country already knew. As of right now the Globetrotters new nemesis are the International Elite and World Select. 

I don't know the reason for this name change. It's strange that they're doing it considering the Washington Generals only resumed using that name 4 years ago. After a 12 year stint playing as the New York Nationals. 

I think part of the reason might be because the story line for this tour, is that the Globetrotters are playing a championship game. Some might find it hard to think a team which hasn't won since 1971 would climb the ranks to play in a championship game. 

Arguably, that might be true. But it isn't like a game between the Generals and the Globetrotters didn't stretch believably before. Even the kids in the audience picked up pretty quickly on what was going on. The Elite and Select don't play any differently so even if people didn't realize they were the same team as before (and have the same coaches), it would take minutes to realize it was the same show it has always been.

That isn't even counting that in some venues the Trotters will be winning this championship twice in one night.

Although it's possible I'm hoping it is that reason because if it is, then it would likely mean the Generals returning next tour. 

Whatever the reason, like it or not the Washington Generals seem to have currently hung up their green and yellow for black and yellow, or white and yellow depending on when you watch. 

This was probably the Globetrotter management's call. Not to pick on them, but I can't imagine the Washington Generals, who own their team's name with pride wanting to change it. And all the name changes before have pretty much been the Globies call. 

I think that is a bad move because as both Dan Gilbert and the Old Spice Man have recently shown, people know the "Washington Generals" name. It's become as iconic as the Globetrotters themselves. Hell, I can attest even after 12 years as the New York Nationals, the majority still associated the Washington Generals name with the Globetrotters put upon foils. 

I know that neither team wants the Generals to overshadow the Globetrotters. The business plan for both teams pretty much depends on them having a lower profile. But I don't see how being well known as being the team that loses consistently to the Globetrotters could do anything but help everyone involved. 

That being said, and although as a fan I hope that this name change isn't going to be another New York Nationals decade or longer change. At the end of the day, I don't really think it matters. 

They may not have the same name, or the same outfits. But just like when they wore red and became the New Jersey Reds, or maroon to become the New York Nationals. Their mission was and still is the same. 

It's to help the Globetrotters look good. To be the brunt of the comedy bits and to entertain the fans. And as reviews and fans who have been in the game will attest, they are as good as ever at being the world wide visiting team to the most famous basketball team on earth. 

So no matter what color their uniforms, or what the name is on the uniform. In the ways that really matter, they are still the Washington Generals. And the players of the Global Select and International Elite are continuing to do the teams legacy proud.

In the end, that's all anyone could ever really ask for. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The 2012 Tour Has Begun

As some of you might know, the "Generals" 2012 tour is officially underway, having started the last week of December.

I put the Generals name in quotation marks, because as I suspected, it looks like they won't be using the Generals moniker much this tour. If at all. This season the Washington Generals will be playing under another persona, two to be exact.

As some who read this blog may have noted the Washington Generals in recent overseas games alternated between playing as the International Elite (in black and yellow) and the Global Select (in white and yellow). This carried over into their last military tour, when the Washington Generals took on the Globetrotters throughout the tour as the Global Select.

As is no surprise, they will be continuing this for the Globetrotters "2012 World Championship Tour" playing the Globetrotters as both the Elite and Select.

I will post my full thought on this name change, so recently after only re-assuming their Generals personal in 2008, in a future post. But to anyone who isn't certain, this is the same team with the same players just alternating between different names.

The story line for this years tour, will be that the World Select or International Elite are playing for the "World Championship Trophy" against the Harlem Globetrotters. Some hints of this were used in their last overseas and millitary tour, which also used this story line. Although it seems some tweaks have been made with the actual tour, the main story is still the same.

If you are in the area when the tour hits your city, I encourage you to come watch Red Klotz team take on the Globetrotters. And attempt the seemingly impossible task of winning the coveted trophy from the Globetrotters. And most likely fail. But some fun and nice shots by the Elite/Select will still be had.

I think now more than ever basketball fans of all ages should see a Generals/Globetrotter game. After the sour taste many got in their mouths over the recent NBA lockout, this is the time to see basketball played in some ways what is it's purest form.

Underneath all the showmanship and basically pre-determined outcome are two teams of very talented athletes. Teams that don't make millions and in the case of our beloved Generals (whatever uniform they wear) don't get any of the glory.

They do it because they love it, and because underneath the sneaker deals and million dollar contracts of their more famous counterparts, basketball is a game of athletics and entertainment.

On the surface what you will see is the Elite or Select take on the Globetrotters. But when doing that you will realize what you are truly watching, is people having fun playing the greatest sport in the world. Which is what basketball should be.

Highlights from an early game in the tour.