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Hi-Lite Bruton (BROO-tun) is a crowd favorite because of his hilarious personality and high-flying slam dunks, but you might be surprised to know that he didn't dunk for the first time until he was a senior in high school.
Just as amazing, Hi-Lite did not play organized basketball before enrolling at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., where he impressed the men’s head basketball coach during a pickup game and was offered a spot on the team. Hi-Lite’s basketball career skyrocketed, as he went on to earn NAIA First Team All-America honors and win the 1994 college slam dunk contest as a college senior.
He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1994, but various injuries derailed his NBA career. Undeterred, Hi-Lite continued to play professionally, during which time one of his coaches, Milton Barnes (who was a former Globetrotters coach), recommended he give the Globetrotters a shot, and he signed a contract with the team in 2001. He feels blessed to be able to share his athletic gift and spread joy around the world.
His Globetrotter travels have taken Hi-Lite to dozens of countries, and he has performed in some very unique settings, from games on aircrafts carriers when the team has visited U.S. military personnel, to being part of the first professional basketball game ever played on ice in New York City’s Central Park in 2010. He also had the honor of meeting Pope Francis when the Globetrotters named the pontiff the ninth Honorary Harlem Globetrotter in team history on May 6, 2015 – following the Pope’s weekly General Audience, before a crowd of over 50,000 in St. Peter’s Square.
Hi-Lite cites his grandmother as his hero, because she raised him and 12 other kids. His grandmother would take the kids fishing every summer in South Carolina, and fishing is a hobby that Hi-Lite enjoys to this day.