Why On Earth Do The Harlem Globetrotters Have A Draft?

Here's the press release from the Globetrotters:

Brittney Griner, one of the most decorated players in the history of women’s basketball, was among five athletes selected today in the seventh annual player draft of the world famous Harlem Globetrotters.

Joining the elite group of top athletes chosen by the Globetrotters were College Slam Dunk Champ Doug Anderson of the University of Detroit Mercy, NAIA All-American Tyrone Davis of Northwood University (Fla.), High Point University (N.C.) high-flyer Corey Law and baseball superstar Mariano Rivera.

Griner has already said thanks, but no thanks, and I don't think we'll see Mariano Rivera throwing confetti buckets as "Sweet Georgia Brown" plays. But that's not even close to the story. The real story is that the Globetrotters have an annual player draft—for just the one team—and have been doing it for seven years.

Here's the history of Globetrotter drafts, which usually go five or six rounds. Players generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Actual Globetrotter material. D-II or NAIA players known more for their acrobatics and showmanship than their basketball worth. This usually includes the winners and runners-up of the college slam dunk contest. Nine of 33 draftees prior to this year have actually gone on to play for the Globetrotters, and they explicitly come from this group.
  • Basketball pseudo-celebrities. Hoopsters who have made the news for something unrelated to their game. Examples include 7-foot-9 Chinese player Sun Ming Ming, Patrick Ewing Jr., Blake Griffin's older brother Taylor, married Montana players Anthony Johnson and Shaunte Nance-Johnson, blogger extraordinare Mark Titus.
  • Celebrities. Past big names include Usain Bolt, Tim Howard, Lionel Messi, and now Griner and Rivera.

It's this last group that gets the attention (I haven't seen many headlines about the Globetrotters taking Tyrone Davis in the third round out of Northwood University), and that's the reason this draft exists. Hey, remember the Harlem Globetrotters? You do now! Normally we don't like to help publicize blatant PR stunts, but the Globetrotters are all about showmanship, so well played.

The Washington Generals will select their draftees from a pool of the nation's finest athletes that can be found in the Home Depot parking lot on gameday morning.

[via Sportress of Blogitude]