Around the world with the Harlem Globetrotters
WANT TO GO?
The Harlem Globetrotters
WHERE: Charleston Civic Center
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesda
INFO: 800-745-3000 or www.charlestonwvciviccenter.com
NOTE: A Magic Pass Pre-Game runs 5:30 to 6 p.m., allowing fans to participate in on-court activities with the team. Tickets are $20. Ticketholders must also have game tickets and wear soft/rubber-soled shoes. CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Slick Willie Shaw said he wanted to play professional sports since he was a child.
"I got started in basketball when I was 6 years old," the Harlem Globetrotters forward said.
The 30-year-old will suit up with the team when the "clown princes of basketball" return to West Virginia for a set of games in Beckley, Charleston and Huntington this week. The Globetrotters will be at the Beckley-Raleigh Convention Center Monday, the Civic Center Tuesday and the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington Wednesday.
Shaw grew up playing basketball. The 6-foot-6-inch New Yorker went to college and started for St. John's University, where he helped lead his team to the 2003 NIT championship. He also holds the record for the most career three-pointers.
After graduation in 2004, Shaw joined the Globetrotters.
"Everybody has a different story for how they got into this," he said. "Everyone has a different route they took. Me, I was playing in Vegas, and they saw me at an All-Star Game. That's when they wanted to bring my talents to the Globetrotters."
According to the group's website, one of those talents is Shaw's ability to spin two basketballs on his fingers in different directions, usually during the team's Magic Circle during warm-up.
Being part of the Globetrotters is a good life, Shaw said.
"I'm living the dream. I'm part of such a rich tradition that's been around for 87 long years. We've entertained in 122 countries and in front of 136 million people all over the world."
That's the company line, but Shaw believed it.
He added, "For me, the best part is still being able to play the game and be part of that tradition. It's a beautiful thing."
Shaw said the Globetrotters play around 300 games a year. The team's current season began the day after Christmas and runs through the end of April. After that, the players will have a short break before heading overseas or to South America.
The travel is one of the nicest things about what he does, Shaw said.
"My favorite places have been Italy -- Milan. But we've been to China. I got to walk on the Great Wall some. I've been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, seen the Coliseum in Rome...I've got to see a lot of great things because of the Harlem Globetrotters."
He laughed, "We really like to try to live up to the name."
He joked about time off.
"Time off," he said, slowly. "What does 'off' mean?"
When he gets time off, Shaw said he spends time with his kids and plays "Madden NFL 13" -- a football game -- on his Xbox.
"Of course, I play a little basketball when I'm home," he said. "But I try to keep it to a minimum."
Of course, playing with the Globetrotters is a different kind of basketball, and every year or so, they change things up a little.
This year, according to Shaw, they're letting fans change one of the rules of the game. They can double the point values, put a second basketball into play or even add a sixth team member to the opposing side.
Fans can go to the Globetrotters website or on Twitter to vote for which change they want to see.
"We're just trying to bring something new," Shaw said.
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.