One of the more peculiar stories that hits the airwaves in sports every summer is the Harlem Globetrotters’ annual “draft.”
On Tuesday, the Globetrotters’ draft haul was as impressive as it gets in the sports world, consisting of some of its biggest names. The team’s most notable selections were Cal alumna and U.S. women’s soccer star Alex Morgan, along with 14-year-old Mo’ne Davis, the girl who took the Little League World Series by storm last year as the lone female pitcher in a sport dominated by boys.
The Globetrotters are one of the most famous names in sports entertainment and comedy, as they put on shows of flashy basketball skills mixed with slapstick humor while beating up on perennial losers, such as the Washington Generals. Given the team’s comedic nature, you’d expect the Globetrotters’ draft to be different from a normal draft, and it does not disappoint. For one, it is the only team that participates in this draft. Secondly, and more importantly, just about none of the players the Globetrotters draft ever end up playing for the team — the draft is more of a humorous marketing tool used by the team that also honors the players it judges to be draftable.
“When we conduct our draft, we look for outstanding athletes from different sports all over the world that exemplify the Globetrotters’ efforts to provide service, smiles and sportsmanship globally,” said Sweet Lou Dunbar, the Globetrotters’ director of player personnel, to Fox Sports.
Morgan is the fourth soccer player taken in the draft’s nine-year history who has been deemed worthy by these standards. She joins Lionel Messi, Tim Howard and Landon Donovan in these illustrious ranks. Other famous draftees include Johnny Manziel and Mariano Rivera. The satirical Globetrotters have also named some notable honorary members. These are headlined by Whoopi Goldberg, Henry Kissinger, Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis (but interestingly not Pope Benedict XVI).
While the chances of Morgan ever playing for the Globetrotters are about as slim as those of Pope Francis lacing up Jordans and joining the team, she and all the other draftees should jump at the chance to play. How could they claim to be intent on winning if they scoff at the chance to play on a team that has won 98.5 percent of the games it has played (never mind the fact that the games are all alleged to be staged).
Given some of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s recent struggles and the increased quality of competition they’re facing, it may not be a bad idea for Morgan, who played basketball growing up, to keep the Globetrotters’ offer in mind.