Dunbar is only the eighth player in team history to be so honored;
team will allow only one player-- Dunbar’s son, Sweet Lou II--to wear the number
before retiring it permanently
(ATLANTA, Jan. 23, 2019) – Harlem Globetrotters' President Howard Smith announced today that the franchise will retire jersey No. 41 in honor of legendary player, showman, and current head coach, Sweet Lou Dunbar when the team plays at Dunbar’s alma mater, the University of Houston, on February 15 at the Fertitta Center.
Dunbar, who currently serves as the team’s director of player personnel and head coach, is in his 42nd season with the Globetrotters. He is one of the most popular showmen in franchise history, having traveled around the world the equivalent of three times while entertaining more than 10 million fans on six continents as a player and millions more as a coach.
A native of Minden, La., Dunbar is just the eighth player in the team’s 93-year history to have his number retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain (13), Marques Haynes (20), Curly Neal (22), Tex Harrison (34), Geese Ausbie (35), Meadowlark Lemon (36) and Goose Tatum (50).
Only one player—Dunbar’s son, Sweet Lou II, a rookie guard with the Globetrotters—will be allowed to wear number 41 before it is taken out of circulation permanently by the team.
“Sweet Lou is one of the truly great stars to ever represent the Globetrotters throughout the team’s history,” said Smith. “His impact across the organization, both on and off the court, over the past 42-years is immeasurable. We are especially proud to retire his number at the University of Houston, his alma mater, and in the city he has called home for many years.”
Dunbar came to the University of Houston after a stellar career at Webster High School in Minden, La., where he averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds a game as a senior to lead the Mighty Wolves to the state championship, tallying 49 points in the title game. He was named “Mr. Basketball” of Louisiana,” joining other former Louisiana stars such as Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Bob Pettit and Elvin Hayes. He was also a standout prep baseball player at Webster.
Dunbar averaged 23 points and seven rebounds a game for the University of Houston and was one of the first big men to play point guard for a major university, in addition to playing at center and forward. An All-America performer, he was drafted in the fourth round (59th overall) of the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1975 and was later discovered by a Globetrotters scout during a summer pro league while playing with the Houston Rockets. A resident of Houston since 1975, Dunbar was inducted into the University of Houston Hall of Honor on Nov. 15, 2008.
During his playing days, he appeared on popular shows like ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” “The Tonight Show,” “The White Shadow,” “The Love Boat” and “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.” He was even immortalized in animation on “The Super Globetrotters” cartoon series. Dunbar was one of the Globetrotters on hand when the team visited Rome and named Pope John Paul II an Honorary Globetrotter on Nov. 29, 2000.
The Globetrotters are in the midst of their 93rd consecutive season with their “Fan Powered World Tour,” playing in more than 250 North American markets, as well as 30 countries worldwide. Tickets are now available at harlemglobetrotters.com.