(NewsNation Now) — Cue up Sweet Georgia Brown. Get the crowd hyped. And watch Big Easy Lofton try to inbound the ball to his Harlem Globetrotters teammate Hot Shot Swanson with the game on the line against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Well, if the Globetrotters get what they’re asking for, that could be a reality.
The beloved traveling basketball show is comprised of former college standouts and intriguing talents, and their ownership group is asking the National Basketball Association to let the showmen into the league as a proper team.
“Based on what we’ve already proven, we can field a team of talent on par with the pros of today, and we want the chance to do that,” an open letter from the Globetrotters to the NBA reads. “As a world renowned and legendary professional basketball team, we petition [NBA] Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA governors and the powers that be to grant The Original Harlem Globetrotters an NBA franchise. Not now, but right now!”
On its surface it may seem out of place, but the Globetrotters have a unique history with the NBA. They played (and beat) the Lakers twice – in 1948 and 1949, before the NBA was integrated. They toured the world afterwards and expanded basketball’s appeal.
The NBA has kicked around the idea of returning to cities like Seattle and Vancouver that used to have teams, but nothing is imminent, and the Globetrotters would make for an unconventional fit. No major American league has integrated an existing team into its portfolio since the mergers of the 1970s.
The Globetrotters are owned by Herschend Family Entertainment, which owns regional theme parks and attractions across the country.
On Tuesday, the team announced they’re tipping off a 150-city tour starting July 21, with plans to stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Thursday, Dec. 30, at 7 p.m. Visit HarlemGlobetrotters.com to order tickets or sign up to become a preferred customer to get exclusive access to pre-sale tickets.