STARTING FIVE: In celebration of their upcoming 90th anniversary tour, the iconic Harlem Globetrotters met with Pope Francis and named him just the ninth Honorary Harlem Globetrotter in team history on May 6, 2015, at St. Peter’s Square. The accolade recognizes an individual of extraordinary character and achievement who has made an everlasting mark on the world. Pictured (l-r): Hi-Lite Bruton, Ant Atkinson, Pope Francis, Big Easy Lofton, Flight Time Lang. Photo © L'Osservatore Romano Foto.
Vatican visit in celebration of Globetrotters’ 90th anniversary tour, which tips off in the fall
(PHOENIX, May 6, 2015) – The world famous Harlem Globetrotters, who just completed a record-setting tour of North America, named Pope Francis just the ninth Honorary Harlem Globetrotter in team history today at the Vatican, as the Ambassadors of Goodwill™ prepare for the team’s landmark 90th anniversary tour, which will tip off in the fall.
The prestigious Honorary Harlem Globetrotter accolade recognizes an individual of extraordinary character and achievement who has made an everlasting mark on the world.
Harlem Globetrotters stars Hi-Lite Bruton, Ant Atkinson, Big Easy Lofton and Flight Time Lang met with the Pope and presented him with a framed number 90 Globetrotters jersey following the Pope’s weekly General Audience, before a crowd of over 50,000 in St. Peter’s Square.
“We are very humbled by the opportunity to bestow this honor upon Pope Francis,” said Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. “His tireless work for the well-being of the poor and elderly, his humanitarian efforts and his commitment to bridge gaps between people of various cultures are ways the Harlem Globetrotters also aspire to touch lives around the world. He embodies the Globetrotters’ efforts to provide service, smiles and sportsmanship globally.”
Today marks the eighth time the Globetrotters have had an audience with a Pope, with other visits coming in 1951, 1952, 1959, 1963, 1968, 1986, and in 2000, when Pope John Paul II was named the seventh Honorary Harlem Globetrotter in team history at the Vatican. Among others receiving this honor are Dr. Henry Kissinger (1976), Bob Hope (1977), and Nelson Mandela (1996).
The Globetrotters will tip off their historic 90th anniversary world tour in the fall, with over 320 games in North America alone.
Sponsored by World Vision, Greyhound Lines and Baden Sports, The Harlem Globetrotters® continue 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. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, and to purchase tickets and team merchandise, visit the Globetrotters' official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.
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