Sports As The Instigator Of Social Change

Social activists? Not intentionally.

I was watching a Biography Channel show yesterday about The Harlem Globetrotters and have to say how much I loved it. As someone who never saw them live, but was always thrilled to watch them on TV when I was a kid, it meant a lot to learn more about them.

And learn a few things I did.

Like I had no idea that the Harlem Globetrotters were not from Harlem at all. They were originally from Chicago. The team’s founder just named them after Harlem since Harlem was then the most known Black community in America. I was really thrown off by the fact that I never even knew that.

But of course the best part of the show to me was to see how much of an impact these men had on ethnic relations. They were to basketball what Jackie Robinson was to baseball. Their prowess forced the teams to open the doors to Blacks since they could not ignore the talent they were clearly missing out on. And as the documentary showed, nothing proved that more than this group of guys from Chicago beating the all-White NBA champions in a head to head game, which they did in a major spectacle of an event.

Just reminds me that we owe a debt of gratitude to so many people for moving us forward in ethnic relations. And also a reminder that sports are often more than just games. They can sometimes be major socially important events.

Thanks Globetrotters and thanks Biography Channel for doing the piece.

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