Globetrotters mix basketball with jokes

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A crowd of people went to a comedy routine on Tuesday and a basketball game broke out.
The Harlem Globetrotters brought their “A” game to the BancorpSouth Arena, where they dribbled, dunked and “alley-ooped” for nearly 3,300 fans.
“I’ve been waiting for this for 40 years,” said 56-year-old Bruce Wofford of Houston.
He brought his grandsons, Ethan Carnes and John Robert Carnes of Pontotoc, to share the Globetrotters’ magic.
“I used to watch them on cartoons. They used to be on TV when I was a kid, back when Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal played for them,” Wofford said. “I never did see them then. Now, I’m taking my grandkids.”
You still can find the Globetrotters on television. They were on ESPN a few weeks ago. In addition, Nate “Big Easy” Lofton and Herb “Flight Time” Lang recently appeared on CBS’ reality show, “The Amazing Race.”
“We’ve done more exploring than ‘Dora the Explorer,’” Big Easy said.
A no show?
For a moment, Tuesday’s show was in doubt. Big Easy said, “Hello, Tupelo,” and the crowd didn’t respond loudly enough for his liking. A few of his teammates started toward the locker room.
“Fellas, we’re going to give them another chance,” he said. “If they don’t get louder, we’re going to Memphis.”
That got the reaction he was looking for.
“Good job,” he said. “I didn’t want to go to Memphis, anyway.”
Jaylan Lenoir, 11, of West Point came to the show with his family. He said he earned the trip because of “my grades for the nine weeks, all As.”
Jaylan got a Globetrotter jersey and a red, white and blue basketball. The basketballs were hot items, with plenty of kids dribbling on the arena floor beside the court.
Ivia Grace Presley of Saltillo received a small basketball after Flight Time grabbed her hand and skipped to center court with her. The 4-year-old earned laughs from the crowd as she jumped to get the ball from a Globetrotter’s hand.
She was all smiles after running back to her seat with the ball tucked in her arms.
“Did you think it was really fun?” her mother, Erica White, said.
“Yes.”
“Do you like basketball?”
“Yes,” Ivia said.
Her mother didn’t ask if she liked comedy routines, but you probably could guess the answer.
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.