As the sound of “Sweet Georgia Brown” was ringing through the rafters at the Michigan City High School gymnasium on Thursday, the Harlem Globetrotters made their first appearance in the city in more than four decades.
And despite a hazardous driving day that canceled all other events in the area, finding a seat proved difficult for an excited crowd that witnessed the Globetrotters’ world-famous routine at the Wolves Den.
“This is such an excited crowd,” said Robert “Bear” Falls, athletic director at Michigan City High School. “I don’t think the weather had too big of an impact, but if we had fantastic weather, (the crowd) would be even larger.”
As expected, the Globetrotters raced out to a big lead over the World All-Stars. But special rules that included a “5-on-2” advantage for the All-Stars cut the Globetrotters lead to four late in the half.
But thanks to another rule voted on by the crowd, the Globetrotters were able to extend their lead in the second half with a dunk by “Too Tall,” the shortest player on the team (with help from his teammates of course) and an awe-inspiring between-the-legs jam by “Special K.”
It was a fun night from start to finish for the hundreds attending.
“I’m having a great time and really enjoying myself at this fun event,” said Globetrotters fan Katelyn Smith.
Kathy Workman, mother of a former Wolves player, was helping raise money for the Michigan City High School boys basketball team by running a concession booth.
“This is so exciting,” she said. “The show is great.”
Falls, who has been working on the preparation for the event since September, said the night was “very successful.”
“We had a tremendous crowd, with a lot of people traveling from Lake and Porter counties,” he said. “I’m glad that this was a success because whenever you put on a high-profile program like this, you want to see it be successful.”
The success of the night benefits everyone, Falls said.
“We are going to do great things for the athletic department with the money we raise tonight,” he said. “It is a win-win situation. The fans get to see the Globetrotters, the Globetrotters get to perform and we get to help our athletic teams.” Falls, who is in his final year as athletic director, says he hopes the Globetrotters come back to Michigan City “every three or four years.”
Falls thanked his athletic department staff, who he said “have done an excellent job in bringing this together.”
“It’s all about people coming out with their families and having a good time,” Falls added. “The kids will remember this for the rest of their lives.”