Tatum, who was recently inducted into the basketball hall of fame, was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters from 1941-1955 and is considered the original "clown prince" of basketball. He is the man who paved the way for all the other great showmen of the Harlem Globetrotters, from Meadowlark Lemon, to "Sweet Lou" Dunbar, to "Big Easy" and "Special K" today.
But even more importantly than that, "Goose" Tatum was one of the greatest basketball players of his era. Most of us fans today know the Harlem Globetrotters as showmen with fancy trick shots, funny reams, and one lone opposing team who is infamous for (almost) never beating them.
But back in the early days of the Harlem Globetrotters, they were literally the greatest basketball team in the world. Playing competitive games where they won championships, defeated everyone from local pick up teams to NCAA and NBA giants.
While the current number of losses the Harlem Globetrotters claim is not accurate, the reality was back then the underdog team in a Globetrotter game truly was whoever took on the Harlem Globetrotters. During that time they were even more popular than the NBA.
And heading the team during the prime of these competitive years was Goose Tatum. Not only was he a marvel on the court, wowing fans and leaving opponents behind, but it was when the teams would get a huge lead that he innovated the clowning around that would become the Globetrotters signature image.
I'm very much looking forward to this documentary, which I have know doubt will tell me a lot I didn't know.
Tatum left the Globetrotters not long after the Washington Generals were formed and back in those days, they were not the only team to play the Globetrotters. So I don't know if much, or for that matter anything, will be said about the Washington Generals. But if it wasn't for Globetrotters like Tatum who both helped make the Globetrotters so legendary before the Generals were formed, there never would have been a Washington Generals.
And that would have been a huge shame.