The Harlem Globetrotters On Kyrie Irving, World Records, And Performing For The Pope21:50

Story continues below

Subscribe to the podcast


Interview Highlights

On Kyrie Irving

Briana "Hoops" Green: I saw some of the ways he gets better, which is he puts a trash bag over the ball to make it a little slippery and hard to dribble. So, I started doing that. But, yeah, he has a string attached to [the ball] and, you know, I like what he does. He's definitely one of the best dribblers in the league.

"I wanted to be a Harlem Globetrotter since I was six years old. I never wanted to do anything else in life."

Chris 'Handles' Franklin

On his Guinness Book world record

Joe Sullivan: It's for the furthest kneeling basketball shot made backwards. 60 feet, 7.5 inches [away from the hoop]. How do you develop that skill?

Chris "Handles" Franklin: Well, watching the Harlem Globetrotters growing up, they all had their unique shots. Meadowlark Lemon would hit that half court shot with perfection. So, I kind of came up with my own shot, which is on my knees, from half court, backwards. I make it consistently, but I wanted to make it a shot that no one could break for the Guinness Book of World Records. So, I went to about the opposite top of the key, over my head, backwards.

On growing up wanting to be a Globetrotter

Chris "Handles" Franklin: I wanted to be a Harlem Globetrotter since I was six years old. I never wanted to do anything else in life. Growing up, I studied the Globetrotters and some of the greatest dribblers ... What's crazy is I never had an opportunity to see them live. I watched them on cartoons—I saw them on the cartoon Scooby Doo. I knew I either wanted to solve mysteries or play for the Globetrotters. It was my introduction to basketball; I saw them on cartoons, I picked up a ball and never put it back down. And I was mesmerized.

"We're ambassadors of goodwill. We're here to spread joy."

Chris 'Handles' Franklin

On traveling the world as a Globetrotter

Chris "Handles" Franklin: I've personally played in every single state in the U.S. and I've played in 82 countries around the world. Now, the Harlem Globetrotters, we've been to 122 countries and territories around the globe ... I've been to Egypt, Libya, some places that you can't go anymore—I've been to Syria, Afghanistan [to] entertain the troops ... Some of the places where you would think they would not have a great reception, it's always an amazing reception. You've got to understand that we're ambassadors of goodwill. We're here to spread joy. Using the vehicle of the basketball, we speak a universal language and it's about bringing people together all over the globe. And that's what I love about the organization. We pride ourselves on not only being great basketball players, but great role models.

Josh Swartz Twitter Producer, Podcasts & New Programs
Josh is a producer for podcasts and new programs at WBUR.