by Pfc. M. Benjamin Gable
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Soldiers packed the Division Moral Welfare and Recreation field house here to watch the internationally renowned Harlem Globetrotters perform during their 2006 world tour Dec. 2.
'Globie,' the team mascot, warmed the crowd with dancing and red, white and blue basketball giveaways. Then, the Globetrotters were greeted with rousing cheers as they took the court for their opening act, where they form a circle at half court and perform their passing, ball-spinning and dribbling tricks to the tune of "Sweet Georgia Brown."
The Globetrotters, who have been inducted in the National Basketball Hall of Fame, brought many of their top performers, including two of their most famous players. "Showtime" Paul Gaffney is in his 14th year and "Showbiz" Matt Jackson has been performing for 20. Chairman and head coach Manny Jackson also was in attendance.
Entertainment was the name of the game as the Globetrotters began play against the New York Nationals. Alley-oops, trick plays and crowd participation were all in the playbook for the Soldiers in attendance. Globetrotters jumped over referees for dunks, dribbled while sliding on the ground and pulled one lucky Soldier onto the court to give her a trademarked Globetrotter wristband, and then promptly asked for a kiss on the cheek.
Soldiers got a chance to see the flair that has made the Globetrotters famous throughout the world. Gaffney sat in the stands with Soldiers to "hide" from the defense and take a much needed water break.
The basketball on a string trick was used in the game as Gaffney threw the ball at the referee while arguing a call. Soldiers were treated to maybe the most popular Globetrotter trick, as well.
Gaffney threw a bucket of water at the referee and missed, soaking the Soldiers on the sideline. After chasing him around the court, Gaffney threw what was thought to be another bucket of water and hit Soldiers in the stands. The second bucket, though, was full of confetti, much to the Soldiers' delight.
The Globetrotters, in their third straight year of performing in the holiday season for Soldiers, were thankful for the opportunity to play for the troops.
"Soldiers are here to protect our freedoms and give us the chance to do what we love," Jackson said. "We are just glad we can repay them in a way that gives them a little taste of home."
The Soldiers were also glad to see the famed Globetrotters in action.
"It was cool for them to come down and give the Soldiers a morale boost like they did," said Pfc. Juan Perez, a supply technician with Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "Everyone had a great time and it was good to see Soldiers forget about everything for a little while and enjoy the show."
After the Globetrotters once again defeated the Nationals and gave the Soldiers a show to remember, they stayed on the court to sign autographs and take pictures with all the Soldiers. The team proved, once again, why they are the "ambassadors of good will," and continues their tour of military bases over the next two months.
This work, Globetrotters entertain Soldiers at Camp Liberty, by SGT M Benjamin Gable, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.