For this lady Globetrotter, it was a dream hard to pass up
The Harlem Globetrotters are all about breaking boundaries.
Earlier this week, the world-famous basketball troupe announced that select members would be traveling to shoot a reality television basketball segment in North Korea. Oh, and Dennis Rodman will be joining them, too.
Clearly no places or tricks are off-limits for the Globetrotters. This theme appears to carry over to its 2013 “You Write the Rules” tour.
The Harlem Globetrotters will play the Verizon Center in D.C. on Saturday at 1 p.m. They will also hit the court at the Patriot Center in Fairfax on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
The “You Write the Rules” tour is about as interactive as it gets. Before a game, the Globetrotters let fans vote for a wacky, unique rule. Among the choices are a four-point shot line, the addition of an extra basketball and a penalty box where steaming Globetrotters can be sent throughout the game.
“I’ve been working on that four-point shot,” said rookie Ariel “Mighty” Mitchell, who is now in her second month of being a Globetrotter. “I usually only shoot one-or-so per game, but I hit it 35 to 40 percent of the time. Some of the guys can really knock it down.”
Miss Mitchell is making a little bit of history herself on this tour. On Saturday, she will become the first woman Globetrotter in 20 years to hit the nation’s capital. On top of that, she is only the 12th female player on the Globetrotters’ roster in the team’s 87-year history.
“It really is an honor being a part of such a legendary organization,” said Mitchell. “We not only get to be a role model for the little boys out there, but for the little girls, too. Having a female on the roster really tells the kids that anything is possible and to never give up on your dreams.”
Mitchell started playing basketball when she was just 7 years old. She went on to play high school ball in her hometown of St. James, La., and later received a scholarship to play for Dillard University in New Orleans.
When it came time for Mitchell, who is now 23, to either make the jump to the WNBA or pursue other endeavors, she went with her heart.
“The most rewarding part about all of this is having the little girls come up to me and tell me that I inspire them,” said Mitchell. “I had the choice to really make a positive impact. I always encourage the kids to stay around positive people and positive things will happen. And, of course, school is first!”
Just because Mitchell is a lady, doesn’t mean the Globetrotters—or their opponents—take it easy on her.
“They see me as one of the guys out there,” she laughed. “I am definitely on the same playing field.”
America’s most lovable losers, the Washington Generals, usually play against the Globetrotters. In the Generals’ 60-plus year history, they have only defeated the Globetrotters a handful of times.
This year, they’ve changed names and are ready to battle as the “International Select.”
“Yeah, they’ve changed names,” said Mitchell. “But, we are still undefeated against them.”
Just because the team is undefeated against its nemesis, doesn’t mean the team just sits back and relaxes.
“We put in a lot of hard work,” said Mitchell. “We work out just like they do in college and in the pros we have dunking, passing and dribbling drills and get game-ready.”
To Mitchell, entertaining her fans and leaving a lasting, positive mark is just as important as the game of basketball itself. So far, she’s off to a pretty good start.
“When I leave the Globetrotters one day, I want to leave a great legacy,” said Mitchell.
“I want to leave as a great player and be remembered as a strong woman.”
Jesse Scott is a freelance writer and Fredericksburg native. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.