Keeping the legacy alive – what it’s like to be a Harlem Globetrotter

By Lauren Kalo
Times-News correspondent 

Zeus McClurkin will be visiting the Piedmont-Triad the weekend of March 24, 2017, with the Harlem Globetrotters. / Photo submitted

Zeus McClurkin is a part of the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. The team has played more than 26,000 games in 122 different countries throughout the years, and has an impressive history of magic and fun. The tour is coming to  the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem at 4 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m and 7 p.m. Saturday at the PNC Arena in Raleigh; and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Teens & 20s writer Lauren Kalo had a chance to interview McClurkin on Tuesday afternoon about the upcoming tour and what it’s like to be a Harlem Globetrotter.
   Teens & 20s: What does the Harlem Globetrotters legacy mean to you?
   McClurkin: The legacy is very important to me since the Harlem Globetrotters have been around for 91 years. Being a part of a team that’s made it huge has been a real honor.
   Teens & 20s: What kind of benefits come with being a Harlem Globetrotter?
   McClurkin: When people see me in my Harlem Globetrotters uniform, even out on the street, they’re instantly nice.
  Teens & 20s: How do you want your teammates to remember you?
  McClurkin: I want them to remember me as the person who stayed consistent throughout my career by being the same person on and off the court.
   Teens & 20s: How has your asthma affected your playing?
   McClurkin: It actually helped me over time because it helped me know that I was equal to the other kids on the team.
   Teens & 20s: Do you have any rituals you perform before a game?
   McClurkin: I pray and read Proverbs. Since there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, I switch it up for each day of the month.
   Teens & 20s: Is there any particular significance to your jersey number?
   McClurkin: Not really. I usually tell people that I may be No. 30 on the field, but that I’m No. 1 in their hearts.
   Teens & 20s: What’s in your gym bag that may surprise that may surprise people?
   McClurkin: My Bible. I think people get really shocked when I pull that out.
   Teens & 20s: What former Harlem Globetrotter do you look up to?
   McClurkin: Definitely Curly Neal since he was the first person to tell me that I could become a Harlem Globetrotter.
   Teens & 20s: Have you ever had a particularly memorable interaction with a fan?
   McClurkin: There have definitely been a few. One time, I spoke at a school about bullying and did an anti-bullying event. A girl came up to me and hugged me really tight because she had a tough time with bullying. Knowing that I can impact on people like that is huge.
   Teens & 20s: What do you enjoy most about touring the country with the Harlem Globetrotters?
   McClurkin: Getting to see places that I never would’ve experienced is amazing.
   Teens & 20s: What are your favorite cities from each continent you’ve been to?
   McClurkin: In Europe, Paris; in South America, Rio; and in the United States, Columbus, Ohio.
  Teens & 20s: What motivates you?
  McClurkin: Knowing that people are looking up to me results in me becoming a better person.
   Teens & 20s: What are your favorite TV shows to watch on your down time?
   McClurkin: As a kid, my favorite show was the “Power Rangers” but now I don’t have much time so I mainly watch “Sports Center.”
   Teens & 20s: What do you enjoy most about your coaches?
   McClurkin: All of our coaches have incredible knowledge and teach us new tricks every day. I love learning from them and being a sponge in their coaching process.
   Teens & 20s: What’s one performance that you wish you could relive?
   McClurkin: I would love to relive our performance in Jerusalem. It was a wonderful city to visit.
   Teens & 20s: How did it feel to break a world record?
   McClurkin: Breaking a world record is huge and I’ve been a fan of the Guinness World Record books since I was young. Having the chance to break that world record was better than winning a million dollars.
   Teens & 20s: What do you like the most about the position that you play?
   McClurkin: I love playing advance since I’m able to do a little bit of everything.
   Teens & 20s: Who helps you stay motivated?
   McClurkin: My brother, dad and my mom all help me stay motivated.
   Teens & 20s: Is there a certain quote that you live by?
   McClurkin: “Never call wrong right and never call right wrong.”
   Teens & 20s: Why should people come to a Harlem Globetrotters show?
   McClurkin: Our shows appeal to a wide variety of people. Everyone always smiles and enjoys themselves.

Tickets start at $23 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets — or 800-745-3000. 

Lauren Kalo is a senior at Western Alamance High School and a Teens & 20s writer.  

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