Klotz was a legendary basketball icon worldwide for over 60 years
(PHOENIX, July 14, 2014) – Louis “Red” Klotz – the iconic mastermind behind the Washington Generals, and a key figure as a player, coach and owner over more than 60 years of competition with the world famous Harlem Globetrotters – passed away Saturday, July 12, at the age of 93.
Klotz passed peacefully in his sleep at his home in Margate, N.J., with his wife of 72 years, Gloria, and family at his side. Services are pending.
For over six decades, Klotz put together a team to face the Globetrotters for more than 400 games a year, including – in addition to the Generals – the Boston Shamrocks, New Jersey Reds, New York Nationals, International Elite, Global Select and World All-Stars. The working relationship with the Globetrotters was formed in 1952, when Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein offered Klotz the opportunity to form a team to play the Trotters on a regular basis.
“The Harlem Globetrotters organization is extremely saddened by the passing of Red Klotz, and our deepest sympathies go out to his entire family,” said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. “Red was truly an ambassador of the sport and as much a part of the Globetrotters’ legacy as anyone ever associated with the organization. He was a vital part of helping the Globetrotters bring smiles and introduce the game of basketball to fans worldwide. He was a legend and a global treasure. His love of the game – and his love of people – will certainly be missed.”
Klotz became the first non-Globetrotter to have a jersey retired by the team when the Globetrotters honored Klotz in his native Philadelphia on March 13, 2011. Klotz became only the sixth person in the Globetrotters’ 88-year history to receive this distinction, joining Curly Neal (No. 22), Goose Tatum (No. 50), Marques Haynes (No. 20), Meadowlark Lemon (No. 36), and Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13), as the only individuals ever so honored by the team. The Globetrotters retired Klotz’s number three jersey, which he wore as a player for parts of four decades with the Generals, as well as during his standout collegiate and high school career in Philadelphia.
“It’s been a wonderful run,” said Klotz at the time of his jersey retirement. “I played around the world wearing that number three for many years, and it is very special to have the jersey retired.”
The last time one of Klotz’s teams beat the Globetrotters was on Jan. 5, 1971, thanks to a last-second basket by Klotz – then a 50-year-old player/coach – that lifted the New Jersey Reds to a 100-99 win over the Globetrotters in Martin, Tenn.
Before forming the Generals, Klotz was a standout player at the professional, collegiate and high school level in his native Philadelphia. He won two city titles and two Philadelphia Player of the Year awards at South Philadelphia High School before playing collegiately at Villanova. He then played professionally for the Philadelphia SPHAS of the American Basketball League before joining the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets midway through the 1947-48 season, a season in which Klotz and the Bullets went on to defeat the Philadelphia Warriors to win the NBA title.
Sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios, Howard Johnson Hotels, World Vision, Greyhound Lines and Baden Sports, The Harlem Globetrotters® are celebrating their 88th consecutive year, continuing a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry, and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages. Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S. Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 122 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans-among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents-over more than eight thrilling decades.