Step aside Seattle, get in line Vegas. The two oft-rumored cities for the NBA’s next expansion team have company. The storied Harlem Globetrotters, winners of more than 27,000 games, are seeking the opportunity to compete at pro basketball’s highest level.
In a letter directed to the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver, the Globetrotters’ Executive Vice President and General Manager, Jeff Munn said that Harlem is looking for a “long-overdue seat at the table”. And Munn doesn’t seem interested in waiting for that seat, saying: “As a world renowned and legendary professional basketball team, we petition Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA governors and the powers that be to grant The Original Harlem Globetrotters an NBA franchise. Not now, but right now!”
Penned by the Globetrotters organization, the letter also references the franchises’ past influences on the NBA – specifically that former ‘Trotters, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton and Earl Llyod were the first black players to sign an NBA contract, and play in an NBA game, opening the door for more black players in the league.
A portion of the letter was posted via the Globetrotters’ twitter account.
— Harlem Globetrotters (@Globies) June 22, 2021
Tugging on the NBA’s interest in building a global brand, the Globetrotters mentioned that while the NBA has hosted games in 17 countries, the ‘Trotters have done so in 122. The franchise originated in 1926 and several famous hoopers, including Wilt Chamberlin and Connie Hawkins, have taken the court in their famous red, white, and blue uniforms.
After losing a boatload of money during the herky-jerky pandemic disrupted 2020 and 2021 seasons, the NBA is expected to seriously consider adding at least one more franchise to help make up for lost revenue. The Globetrotters previously played against NBA teams twice before, beating the then Minneapolis Lakers in both 1948 and 1949.