5 Minutes With The Harlem Globetrotters

The World Famous Harlem Globetrotters take their highly anticipated 'Spread Game Tour' to the UK throughout October and we can't wait to see what the most popular basketball team on earth have in store for their fans.

Newly imagined and developed for over 95 years, The Harlem Globetrotters have been committed to spreading joy through their artful athleticism around the world for generations.

We caught up with Cherelle 'Torch' George and Darnell 'Speedy' Artis to discuss what to expect, their careers so far and plenty more! Check out the full interview below.

The UK leg of the ‘Spread Game World Tour’ kicks off next month – are the nerves starting to kick in, or is it just sheer adrenaline and excitement now?

Speedy: I don't know about Torch because everyone's different, but I never feel nervous. I am excited to come back to the UK because we haven't been here since 2020, so hopefully the fans are equally excited to see us as well. I know it's going to be a great night - the crowds are always amazing and we always have a great time.

Torch: I would agree with Speedy - I think I am kind of anxious. It's not nervous, just anxious. We're excited and can’t wait to see the fans again – in the big arenas we get to see thousands of people every night and we can’t wait for them to see the new show.

Do you feel that when you started playing basketball and practicing your tricks and skills that you’d tour the world with The Harlem Globetrotters, or was it something that you just took in your step?

Speedy: I started playing basketball when I was four years old. My goal and dream was always to see the world dribbling the ball and doing what I love. I wanted to be able to have a positive impact on the world, so for me, life has just come full circle. I feel honoured every day to wake up and represent such an iconic brand and at the same time put smiles on people's faces worldwide every single night.

Torch: I would agree! My mom tells a story that I got a basketball when I was two years old. When I was eight years old I told my mom that I wanted to change the world, so having the chance to travel the globe and live my dream at the same time is an honour. I’m now in my seventh year and it is still as exciting and humbling as my first.

Specifically to you Torch – as one of the current female players in the squad do you feel a sense of responsibility to be a role-model for any of the girls in the audience each night?

It is a privilege! There have only been 20 female players in the history of the Harlem Globetrotters since Lynette Woodard in 1985 so to be representing the brand and showing young girls every day that they can do anything they want to do is such a good feeling. The team is still male dominated, but this time around we have spots in the show where it's just about us - so I take that very seriously! For 15 - 30 seconds, it's all about female representation and girl power.

With the rise of YouTube stars and TikTok, do you feel like there are more opportunities for people to be discovered by The Harlem Globetrotters?

Speedy: Social media is evolving and growing each and every day to the point where people don’t just see me as Speedy who does trick shots. They can see the way I tell my story and share my journey. It is important for kids to be able to share their talents and it doesn’t matter how big, strong or fast you may or not be – you just need to believe in yourself and have the confidence to build a platform. It is amazing to be able to see so many people being discovered on social media and accomplishing great things!

You have both been members of the team for a while now – is there one standout memory from your time as a Harlem Globetrotter that stands out?

Torch: For me, I hit six four-pointers in a year in my rookie year, which is pretty special. The four-point line is 30 feet from the basket, so it is a tough shot to even get just one – so to hit six in a row really boosted my confidence. Getting rookie of the year in the end-of-season honours was an incredible feeling too. I was the only female, so to win in a group of all men is something that will always stay with me.

Speedy: When I played at home in Philly in 2018 or 2019 is the one that stands out for me. It was an amazing feeling to see my family and friends in the stands. These are the people that have been following and supporting my journey since high school, so to see them at the game that night was emotional!

For anyone that still hasn’t bought a ticket, what would you say to them?

Speedy: I’d say that if we learned anything during COVID it is that you can't take any chance to create memories for granted. This is the opportunity to create a memory with your family and to see something so iconic, so close. This could be the last time we play in the UK for a while because you never know what might happen in the world.

Torch: What we do is different from any other experience. We're so touchable, reachable, we take pictures, we got our fifth quarter and we just love creating memories with our fans – so please don’t miss out. We’d love to see you!

Tickets for The Harlem Globetrotters are on sale now.

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Hey - I'm Callum. Fan of The National, collector of vinyl, season ticket holder at Leeds United, owner of Dougal the cat.

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