Harlem Globetrotters send letter to NBA, seeking to become an official franchise

“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,” the team said in a statement.

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The Harlem Globetrotters want the chance to prove they can play on the NBA level.

The Harlem Globetrotters want the chance to prove they can play on the NBA level.

John Salangsang/Invision for The Harlem Globetrotters/AP

Touted as the team with the highest winning percentage in the history of professional sports, the Harlem Globetrotters are looking to test their basketball skills against the best of the best: the NBA.

The Globetrotters, founded in 1926, say it’s been 72 years since they last played an NBA team, beating the reigning champion Minneapolis Lakers in 1949.

Now, after all that time apart, the Trotters want the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver to acknowledge their influence on how the game is played today and make them an official NBA team.

“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,” the team said in a statement. ”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.”

While recognizing the efforts the NBA has made in fighting against social injustice, the Globetrotters noted that one of their former members, Nat Sweetwater Clifton, was the first Black player to sign an NBA contract in 1950, while another alum, Earl Lloyd, became the first Black player to play in the NBA that same year.

“As the NBA grew, you were able to attract the best Black players, but we remember who helped the NBA get it all started,” the statement said. “(B)asketball would not be what it is today without us.”

Adding another team to the NBA is on Silver’s mind too. He hinted at the idea of the league expanding back in December. Globetrotters general manager Jeff Munn said on Tuesday that his team is, “ready to negotiate for a franchise.”

Read more at usatoday.com

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