Robin Roberts Named Honorary Harlem Globetrotter; Team Announces The Great Assist Initiative and 90-Year Celebration

Photo courtesy of Ida Mae Astute/ABC

(PHOENIX, Oct. 6, 2015) – The iconic Harlem Globetrotters, celebrating 90 years of providing smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions of people worldwide, today named TV personality Robin Roberts the 10th Honorary Harlem Globetrotter in the team’s history.

Roberts joins an esteemed list of Honorary Harlem Globetrotters that includes Pope Francis – who was honored by the Globetrotters at the Vatican in May – as well as Dr. Henry Kissinger (1976), Bob Hope (1977) and Nelson Mandela (1996). 

The prestigious Honorary Harlem Globetrotter accolade recognizes an individual of extraordinary character and achievement who has made an everlasting mark on the world. Roberts, an award-winning journalist, has provided inspiration for millions as she has publicly battled breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Roberts is an inductee of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and is in the top ten in five career statistical categories at her alma mater, Southeastern Louisiana University, where her no. 21 jersey is retired.

“It is our privilege to present Robin Roberts with this honor,” said Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. “She used her platform as a journalist to selflessly make her personal health battle public in order to raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors, and by doing so, she potentially helped save lives. Robin fully embodies the ambassadorial spirit the Globetrotters have exuded for 90 years.”

The announcement was made before a national TV audience, as the Globetrotters performed on a special basketball court for a multitude of excited fans in the heart of New York City’s Times Square.

As part of the festivities, the Globetrotters, known worldwide as the Ambassadors of Goodwill™, also pronounced that they are giving back even more during their 90th year with The Great Assist initiative, pledging to spread 100 million smiles around the world over the next 10 years with act of kindness and benevolence. Some examples include bringing schools messages of bullying prevention, character and physical fitness, visiting children’s hospitals, lending a hand after natural disasters, helping build homes for the needy and volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

Fans are encouraged to give back as well and to visit GreatAssist.com to nominate a worthwhile cause or a deserving family in need of a smile, and the Globetrotters will help as many fans as possible throughout the tour.  

The North American leg of the Globetrotters’ 2016 World Tour will tip off on Dec. 26, 2015, and see over 330 games in more than 260 cities in 48 U.S. states, eight Canadian provinces and Puerto Rico. To find a performance near you and purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

With a star-studded roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Thunder Law, Bull Bullard and Cheese Chisholm – plus female stars TNT Maddox and Sweet J Ekworomadu* – the Globetrotters’ one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment. Every game will showcase incredible ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction. After the game, Globetrotter stars will sign autographs and take photos with fans.^

The Harlem Globetrotters® are a worldwide icon, synonymous with one-of-a-kind family entertainment and great basketball skills. 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 nine thrilling decades. Sponsored by World Vision, Greyhound Lines and Baden Sports, Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S.

*Rosters will vary in each city and are subject to change.

^ Subject to availability.