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A history of success

March 01, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Never mind the Boston Celtics and the UCLA Bruins. No team in NBA or NCAA history - probably in any other league in any major sport - can match the success of the Harlem Globetrotters.

UCLA once won 88 games in a row, a record for men's college teams.

But the Globetrotters own a winning streak that's 100 times as long. They once went 24 years - a total of 8,829 games - without a loss.

In their first 20,000 games, the Harlem Globetrotters won 19,668.

The losing team most games now is the New York Knights, who were known for many years as the Washington Generals and several other names.

The Generals/Knights/et. al., who follow the Globetrotters on tour, never will be confused with the Los Angeles Lakers, or anything NBA-like. But over the years, they've fielded many players with professional or major college experience.

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The Globetrotters' Web site tracks their history, which dates back to a Jan. 7, 1927, game in Hinckley, Ill. They've gone on to play in about 115 countries and more than 1,300 U.S. cities.

A civil war in Peru in 1956 stopped so the Globetrotters could play there.

The Globetrotters had black players before the NBA did, and they brought in a woman to play in 1985.

The team only played seriously at the start. But in a 1939 game, with a 112-5 lead, the Globetrotters "began to clown around."

They're known for their theatrics after getting a big lead. Players will form a circle, or "ring," and show off trick passes and moves, to the tune of "Sweet Georgia Brown."

And they're in the midst of another impressive winning streak. The Globetrotters haven't lost since 1995.

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