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Greatness For Globetrotters

You don't have to be NBA to be in the Basketball Hall of Fame. You might just be a legend in a class of your own, and that's how it is for the Harlem Globetrotters, who dropped by The Early Show on the eve of Friday's Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass.

The Globetrotters, a 76-year-old organization, is be only the fifth team to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, joining the Buffalo Germans, The First Team, the Original Celtics and the New York Rens. None of the four teams previously inducted are in existence today.

Magic Johnson, who has played for the Globetrotters, and Drazen Petrovic, joined the Hall of Fame Class of 2002. Coaches Larry Brown, Lute Olson and Kay Yow were also be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

The fabulous Harlem Globetrotters have long been considered America's original "Dream Team" and have played before more than 120 million people in 117 different countries since their inception in 1926. They have a record 20,916 victories and are often credited with accelerating the integration of the NBA. In 1999, the Harlem Globetrotters were the first team in history to receive the John W. Bunn Award, the Basketball Hall of Fame's most prestigious honor outside of enshrinement.

Mannie Jackson, the team owner since 1993, says the Harlem Globetrotters are a modern basketball dynasty that broke down barriers, excelled at the sport of basketball and brought people together.

But for a time, the Globetrotters were in financial trouble. However, Jackson revived the near-bankrupt organization by increasing revenue and rebuilding the fan base to record levels — becoming the first African-American to own a major international sports and entertainment organization.

The induction ceremony was held Friday at the new Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

The Globetrotters' next North American tour begins December 27. They'll play 200 games between the end of December and the first week of April all across the United States. Tickets are available at their website www.harlemglobetrotters.com.

Facts About the Harlem Globetrotters

  • The Saperstein's New York Globetrotters, originally from Chicago, played their first game in 1927.
  • In 1930, the team changed its name to the Harlem New York Globetrotters; lending emphasis that all players were black.
  • Boid Buie, who only has one arm, joins the Globetrotters and averages 18 points per game in 1945.
  • Abe Saperstein signs Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain to a contract in 1958 to play for the Globetrotters for one year.
  • In 1970, the CBS Network debuted "The Harlem Globetrotters Show." The cartoon was an instant hit, earning the highest ratings in the history of Saturday morning television, and ran on the network for three years.
  • In 1982, the Globetrotters became the first and only sports team to be honored with their own star on Hollywood's famous "Walk of Fame."
  • In 2000, "Wild Thing" Wilson sets a world record by dunking on a 12-foot hoop.