Birthday with Basketballs: Globetrotter invites everyone to celebration

TUPELO – If you’re wondering what to get the Harlem Globetrotter who has everything, “Big Easy” Lofton has a suggestion.
The New Orleans native will turn 30 on Friday, when he and his fellow “Clown Princes of Basketball” will bring their family-oriented show to the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo.
“Tell the fans I like macadamia nut cookies, if they want to bring me something,” Lofton said during a phone interview from a tour stop in Massachusetts.

After Katrina
The Harlem Globetrotters have been the gift that keeps on giving to Lofton. He grew up in New Orleans, and he and his family fled to Houston when Hurricane Katrina hit.
“No matter what, you just never give up, and put your faith in God. If you’re a good person, good things will happen to you,” he said. “No matter how many bad things happen to you, good times will come of it.
“I just thank God that I have a chance to do what I do every day, even though the hurricane happened. If it weren’t for the hurricane, I would never have been in Houston.
“The Globetrotters wouldn’t have been there, either. It all worked out and I’m happy. I’m doing better now, and I’m going around the world. I’ve been to 65 countries.”
The first time he saw a Globetrotters game in person, he was wearing a red, white and blue uniform and playing in the game.
Now, he’s the showman, which means he’s responsible for telling jokes and talking to the crowd. It’s a role he grew into with help from his coaches and teammates.
“I think all of us are showmen,” he said, “because everyone has an important part to play for the show to become an overall great success.”

Mixing it up
The Globetrotters have been around for 85 years. The team has to be true to that history, while still making things fresh.
This year, the 4-point shot has been added to spice up the game. “Flight Time” Lang, who is Lofton’s partner on the current season of CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” has become a 4-point monster.
“ ‘Flight Time’ is our specialist. He hit 16 of them one night. He is amazing,” Lofton said, then added with a laugh: “I shoot the hook shot from there.’”
There’s certainly no requirement to bring cookies to Lofton’s 30th birthday party. Come as you are, he said, and have some fun.
“We’re going to have a good night,” he said. “It’s one of the best shows you can ever see. It doesn’t matter if you’re 7 or 77, we’re one of those shows that the whole family can enjoy.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal