Two of the most influential organizations in the history of basketball--the YMCA, where the sport was invented, and the Harlem Globetrotters, who have played in more countries than any team in the world--have signed an official global partnership focused on the power of sport and community where the Globetrotters will serve as "Global Ambassadors of Basketball" for YMCA.
The partnership between the World YMCA and the Globetrotters was signed in July at the YMCA 19th World Council in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and aims to bring more people together to experience basketball.
Globetrotters President Howard Smith believes this partnership will not only make both organizations stronger, but will also greatly increase their impact as a social movement.
"The YMCA and Harlem Globetrotters exist to serve others," said Smith. "Our organizations are uniquely entwined, and no-one has the legacy, footprint and values we collectively share."
This year, 1,300 people were in attendance at the YMCA's World Council in Thailand as Globetrotters Scooter, Torch, Zeus and DJ GT dazzled the crowd, and Smith delivered a keynote address about the YMCA's and Globetrotters' shared commitment to people through basketball. Held every four years, the World Council is the YMCA's biggest event, where they bring together YMCA representatives from as many of their 119 countries as possible.
Basketball was invented at the YMCA in Springfield, Mass., by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 to keep rowdy youth busy in the cold New England winter months. Today, basketball is a staple in YMCAs around the world and is a symbol of youth empowerment and community, with the YMCA existing in 120 countries worldwide working for social justice for all young people regardless of religion, race, gender or culture. Founded in 1855, it is the oldest and largest youth movement in the world.
Founded in 1926, the Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 123 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.