Louis “Red” Klotz, who has been involved in over 19,000 games against the Harlem Globetrotters as a player, coach and owner, is the first non-Globetrotter in the team’s storied history to receive the “Legends” award. 

For more than half a century, Klotz has put together a team to face the Globetrotters, including the widely known and popular Washington Generals, the Globetrotters' current traveling opponent. The partnership began in 1953, when Globetrotters’ Owner Abe Saperstein offered Klotz the opportunity to form a team to play the Globetrotters. 

Prior to his relationship with the Globetrotters, Klotz perfected his set shot and dribbling as a standout player at South Philadelphia High School, where he led the team to city championships in 1939 and 1940, both times earning Philadelphia Player of the Year honors. Klotz attended Villanova on a basketball scholarship from 1942-1944 and went on to play for the Philadelphia SPHAS of the American Basketball League from 1944-1947. Klotz joined the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets midway through the 1947-48 season, a season in which the Bullets went on to defeat the Philadelphia Warriors in six games to win the NBA title. 

Klotz once waxed that, “Like Fred Astaire had Ginger Rogers, the Harlem Globetrotters have always had a dance partner…but I’ve always been dancing backwards.” Klotz’s teams have played games in front of popes, kings and queens; on aircraft carriers, in bullrings, and on soccer fields; and in over 100 countries and thousands of cities around the world. The last time one of Klotz’s teams tasted victory over the Globetrotters came on January 5, 1971, in Martin, Tennessee, when Klotz, age 50 at the time, hit the game-winning shot as his New Jersey Reds defeated the Globetrotters 100-99. 

Klotz, the 26th person to be honored with the “Legends” distinction, was presented with his award on March 10, 2007, at the Liacouras Center, during the Globetrotters’ annual visit to Philadelphia.

 

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