Harlem Globetrotters Send Letter to NBA: ‘Grant The Original Harlem Globetrotters an NBA franchise. Not now, but right now!’

Whenever someone talks about the Harlem Globetrotters, I immediately get their theme song stuck in my head. You will too, you’ll have the sounds of Brother Bones’ “Sweet Georgia Brown” whistling stuck in your head.

The Harlem Globetrotters have been around for over 95 years as an exhibition basketball team. The Globetrotters have played over 26,000 exhibition games all over the globe. They’ve had marquee names play for them over the years including Wilt Chamberlain, who joined the Globetrotters back in 1958.

The Globetrotters are an iconic staple in the basketball landscape that doesn’t play in the NBA. However, the world-famous exhibition team has a new goal in mind, becoming an NBA franchise.

Leave Harlem?

Image courtesy of David Reed

On Saturday, the Harlem Globetrotters tweeted that they love Harlem but would love to be the 31st team in the NBA if they had a chance. The Globetrotters have called Harlem home since 1968 even though they adopted the name back in 1928.

But now the Globetrotters are ready to make a serious jump to the Association. Back on Tuesday, June 20, the Globetrotters sent a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver petitioning to join the league.

The letter to Silver talked about their last formal meeting with the NBA, which was 72 years ago when the Globetrotters faced the then World Champion Lakers. For those keeping score at home, the Globetrotters defeated the Lakers 61-59 in a dramatic match-up played in Chicago Stadium.

The match-up between the Globetrotters and the Lakers back in 1949 was important for the growth of the game.

“People say it was that game in 1949 that sparked the integration of the NBA. Three years after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier, y’all finally allowed African American players to ball,” said the Globetrotters in their letter to the NBA.

In a time where the world is slowly trying to bring inclusion and diversity to the forefront mainstream, the game between the Globetrotters and Lakers, 72 years ago laid the foundation to integrate African American players to the Association.

Grow the Game

The NBA is one of the most successful and popular game in the world and the league makes a ton of cash. According to the website Statista, the NBA generated revenues of around $7.92 billion during the 2019/20 season. Due to the pandemic season in 2020, those numbers changed dramatically.

There is no doubt the popularity of the NBA. Fans want to consume their product at a rapid rate from jerseys, to the sneakers their favorite players wear, going to the games and even NBA Top Shots.

So, why can’t the Globetrotters get in on the action?

“So, if you really believe what you’ve been saying about social justice, going back to “normal” needs to look different. You can’t just act like we don’t exist anymore. It’s time to right the wrongs and rewrite history. It’s time for the NBA to honor what the Globetrotters have done for OUR sport, both here in the U.S. and around the globe.

“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. As a world renowned and legendary professional basketball team, we petition 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!,” said the Globetrotters to Silver.


The Globetrotters petitioning the NBA with their letter to join the league is a huge request. It’s unlikely that Silver will grant them into the league. There hasn’t been much conversation regarding the NBA adding to the league now or in the near future.

However, the world is forever changing and evolving and so are sports. The NBA could look at the Globetrotters and consider them as a future franchise in the league. For the last 95 years the Globetrotters have been involved with hoops. They also have a connection to the NBA from the games they’ve played, to the players that have left the ‘Trotters for the bright lights of the league.


Some fans might think this is a gimmick for the Globetrotters and it maybe. There is no such thing as a bad press or publicity. By sending the letter to the league creates awareness surrounding a team who has impacted basketball for decades.

The NBA fan right now might think this is a ploy or a tactic from a team who is considered a comedy act. That the Globetrotters will bring the video game NBA Jam to a hard court.

That’s not the case.

The Globetrotters have been an influence on the game and the league. There is history between the Globetrotters and the NBA.

History is meant to be looked at, researched and celebrated. When and if the NBA decides they’d like to grow the league, you’d have to think Silver would look at the Harlem Globetrotters. They’ve impacted the lives of men and women playing basketball since 1926.

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– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)

Feature image courtesy of Alysa Rubin, Unward State

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