Schuster: My Night Playing VS. The Harlem Globetrotters.
By David Schuster–
Dear diary I can now cross off my bucket list of being a professional basketball player. That short white guy in the green uniform (I looked like a leprechaun) for the Washington Generals on Wednesday was yours truly. And we almost made history as we barely lost to the winningest team in sports history (Globetrotters) by the score of 90-85. As the game was winding down I was reminded that the last time that the Generals beat the Globetrotters was 1971 when Red Klotz hit a jumper at the buzzer. Well we didn’t make history but we probably covered the spread (if there was one).
I had no idea how this venture would play out but I calmly entered the arena and went to the locker room and introduced myself to the guys. There were 8 other players dressed for the Generals on this evening and they were all real cool and friendly to me. We went through a normal pre-game ritual of stretching and listening to music on out IPODs and then we hit the court. I knew that I would get into the game at some point as the guest celebrity but didn’t know when and had no idea if I was supposed to follow a script.
The game started and the normal Globetrotter antics immediately began as they dribbled fancy, dunked, and kept the crowd in stitches. I wasn’t familiar with any of the modern players but the antics were the same as when I was growing up. Then finally I got the call midway through the 2nd quarter and entered the game. Right away the various Globetrotters came up and snickered at me and the guy with the microphone asked me if I was on radio or TV. I said both and he said I had the face for radio (I’ve heard that one a thousand times). He also said that if I was on TV it must be Animal Planet. I laughed along but kept thinking just give me the damn ball. And sure enough I got my chance as the Trotters allowed me to shoot from the outside and I decided to try their new 4 point shot which is 35 feet from the basket. I was on target with the first one but came up a bit short and my 2nd attempt was off to the side. Then they allowed me to go to the hoop and I was fouled. Nervously I went to the line and hit the first shot before missing the 2nd and that pretty much was it. I’m not going to say it was the best 2 minutes of my life but it was 2 minutes on the court with great athletes and entertainers that I will remember for a long long time.
Some fans behind the bench screamed for me to get into the game again in the 2nd half but the coach (Reggie) didn’t call my number and I was OK with that. While sitting on the bench I did get a a chance to talk with the various guys about being a General and how life is traveling with the Trotters for 9 months in the year. They are on the road constantly and have been to 44 countries around the world. And for all the questions I asked them they asked me about my experiences as a reporter, especially the years I covered the Bull’s championships with Michael Jordan.
So there you have it. I definitely will keep my day job but I had a ton of fun and the memories will long last with me. And I got to keep the uniform too so if you see this short white guy in a General ‘s jersey and shorts you’ll know that’s me.