US Department of State Sports Diplomacy


Harlem Globetrotters Continue Support of the U.S. State Department's Sports Envoy Program with Upcoming Visit to Uzbekistan

April 24, 2019

Team will also play games there in late May, marking record 124th country the Globetrotters have visited

(ATLANTA, April 24, 2019) – The Harlem Globetrotters will once again continue their tradition of bringing goodwill to people all over the world as part of the U.S. State Department’s Sports Envoy program when they visit the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan between April 29 and May 6, where they will conduct youth basketball clinics as well as present their anti-bullying program, “T.E.A.M. Up at School.”

The clinics and anti-bullying program, which will be led by Globetrotters stars Zeus McClurkin and TNT Lister, are part of a program designed to help bolster the United States’ cultural and social ties with the government and people of Uzbekistan, a long-standing partner and ally.

In addition to the clinics and anti-bullying program, the Globetrotters will also play three games against the Washington Generals at Humo Arena in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on May 26, 28 and 30. This trip, which marks the team’s 124th country visited, will be submitted as part of the review process for the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title most countries played in by a basketball team.  

"It is always an honor to be asked by the State Department to spread our message of goodwill around the world,” said Howard Smith, president of the Harlem Globetrotters. “It goes right to the heart of what it means to be a Globetrotter, going all the way back throughout our 93-year history, and we’re thrilled to bring our brand of showmanship and entertainment to new audiences in Uzbekistan.”

The Harlem Globetrotters have a well-established history of working alongside the U.S. State Department and serving as Ambassadors of Goodwill around the globe, dating back to 1950. One of the most unforgettable moments took place on August 22, 1951 in Germany, when the Globetrotters played before 75,000 people in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on behalf of the State Department. Olympic hero Jesse Owens accompanied the Globetrotters on that historic day, returning to the site where he had won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Shortly after the game, the Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, acknowledged the Harlem Globetrotters as “ambassadors of extraordinary goodwill.”

Currently wrapping up their 93rd season in 2019, the Globetrotters are a uniquely American phenomenon who have introduced millions to the sport of basketball while building friendships and understanding on six continents.  Since 2003, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has sent more than 250 U.S. athletes to more than 85 countries on Sports Envoy programs.