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Harlem Globetrotters visit North Park students

Basketball showmen teach kids about personal integrity

Posted: August 26, 2008 7:30 p.m.
Updated: October 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Harlem Globetrotter Scooter Christensen shows some of his moves at North Park Elementary School in Saugus on Tuesday. The Globetrotters visited the school to talk with students about their "C.H.E.E.R. for Character" program, which was designed, with the assistance from the U.S. Department of Education, to help motivate students.

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After getting the kids’ attention with their signature ball-handling skills, four members of the Harlem Globetrotters talked to North Park Elementary students Tuesday about the team’s C.H.E.E.R. For Character program.

Anthony “Buckets” Blakes, Shane “Scooter” Christensen, Nate “Big Easy” Lofton and Kevin “Special K” Daley were in Valencia to tell students about five important character traits: cooperation, healthy mind and body, effort, enthusiasm and responsibility. The Globetrotters travel the world playing basketball and have won the most games in the history of professional sports.

“I heard your principal talking about the six pillars of character. Well, we also have some pillars of character to talk to you about,” Blakes told the fourth through sixth grade students gathered in the multipurpose room.

With help from the audience, the Globetrotters went through each character trait explaining why it is important. Students helped out with the definitions, with fifth grader Tyler Binkle defining effort as “to never give up.”

“What he said is perfect — never give up. We, the Globetrotters, we always give 110 percent,” Christensen said. “When you always give it your best, you’ll always feel good at the end of the day.”
Blakes asked Principal John Baker for the definition of responsibility, who in turn asked his students for help with the definition.

“You mean to tell me you’re the principal and you need help?” Daley asked, generating laughter from the students.

Each student who provided a definition, along with Principal Baker, was taught a ball-handling trick to use to perform the Globetrotters’ famous Magic Circle routine for the rest of the audience. While the kids fumbled their tricks a bit, Principal Baker performed his trick, which included moving the ball behind his back, under one leg, under the other leg, then turning around and bouncing the ball off his behind — perfectly.

The crowd went wild.

“That was one version of the Magic Circle, but we’re gonna show you how the Magic Circle is really done,” Blakes said, as the Globetrotters took the ball to show off their moves.

The basketball went from player to player as they juggled it, rolled it up and down their arms, spun it on their fingers and finally Christensen spun the ball on his bald head.

“We were very, very lucky to have (the Globetrotters) here today. They gave us a great show,” Principal Baker said. “It reinforces our pillars of character and helps the kids learn in a fun way.”

While the Globetrotters were teaching the North Park students about character, cameras were rolling for the making of an educational training film that will be used in schools across the country for educational and character building purposes. The film is being funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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