World Trick Shot Day
the first Tuesday in December (since 2016)
The Harlem Globetrotters in November 2016
Trick shots are both entertaining and inspiring and are celebrated today with World Trick Shot Day. The Harlem Globetrotters, "the originators of the trick shot," created the day not only to celebrate the shots but to give fans the opportunity to showcase them. Globetrotters fans take videos of themselves performing their best trick shots and share them on social media for all the world to see. Throwing the ball underhanded from between the legs, over the back while facing away from the basket, from over a half court away from the basket, or while simultaneously jumping and spinning are just a few types of trick shots that might be seen on World Trick Shot Day.
The Harlem Globetrotters got their start in 1926 and played their first road game the following year. They became popular for both their basketball abilities and innovative on-court antics, which trick shots have been a large part of. They won the World Professional Basketball Championship in 1940 and twice beat the World Champion Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA in 1948 and 1949. The successes of the team and its players accelerated the integration of the NBA. Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton, a Globetrotter, became one of the first African Americans to join the NBA when he signed with the Knicks in 1950. That same year, the Globetrotters went on their first international tour. In 1959, with future NBA star Wilt Chamberlain on their roster, they toured the Soviet Union.
The popularity of the Harlem Globetrotters continued in the following decades. It expanded beyond the court with the creation of two cartoons, Harlem Globetrotters and The Super Globetrotters, and with the Saturday morning variety show, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine. The Globetrotters also made many appearances on Wide World of Sports on ABC.
Lynette Woodard, an Olympic Gold Medalist, became the first female to join the Harlem Globetrotters, and the first female ever on a men's pro basketball team, when she took the court in 1985. This set the stage for the WNBA, which Woodard was part of during the final years of her playing career. When former Globetrotter Mannie Jackson purchased the team in 1993, he became the first African American to own an international entertainment and sports organization of its size. The Harlem Globetrotters were inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, and many Globetrotters have also been inducted to it individually.
The Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their talents in more than 120 countries on 6 continents, entertaining hundreds of millions of fans, including popes, kings, queens, and presidents. Many spectators who had never seen basketball played before saw it for the first time because of the Globetrotters. In 2010, the Globetrotters became the first to use the 4-point line, which is 30 feet away from the basket. The Globetrotters hold more than 20 Guinness World Records, and they helped popularize the slam dunk, fast break, forward and point guard positions, and the figure-eight weave. They regularly hold over 400 events a year, so there are plenty of chances for spectators to see their trick shots and to get inspiration from them for World Trick Shot Day!
How to Observe World Trick Shot Day
Take as many trick shots as you can, jumping, twisting, and flipping as you throw the basketball, in an attempt to capture your best shot. Watching some trick shot videos before you start might give you some ideas. Post a video of your best shot to social media with the hashtag #WorldTrickShotDay. Make sure to share your video with the Globetrotters, since they have given out prizes, such as tickets to see them, during past World Trick Shot Day celebrations. If you aren't able to take any trick shots, support someone who is, perhaps by offering to record them taking their shots. Some other ways you could spend the day include:
- Check out the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube pages of the Harlem Globetrotters for trick shots and more.
- Watch Harlem Globetrotter Hammer Harrison slam dunk in honor of World Trick Shot Day after jumping 855 feet from a building or while skydiving from over 13,000 feet up.
- Watch Harlem Globetrotter Michael "Wild Thing" Wilson set the world record for the world's highest slam dunk.
- Get tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters in person.
- Watch Harlem Globetrotters: The Team that Changed the World, Harlem Globetrotters: America's Court Jesters, or the 1951 film The Harlem Globetrotters.