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Horsing Around

With a new starting lineup, the renowned Harlem Globetrotters bring a brand new show to the River City
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang and Nathaniel “Big Easy” Loften hang out with a little girl during a performance.

When Herbert "Flight Time" Lang first saw the Harlem Globetrotters live in 1998, he was playing with them on the hardwood as part of the show. His audition tape had been a virtual highlight reel of his college basketball career at Centenary College of Louisiana — spinning the ball on his finger tips, averaging 18 points per game, performing monstrous slam dunks. Now, 14 years later, Lang is among a lineup of more than 25 Globetrotters with nicknames such as "Special K," "Bones," "Blenda," and "Quake" who bend the rules of basketball in a performance that incorporates skilled athleticism, elaborate ball handling and tricks, audience participation, and family-friendly comedy.

The Globetrotter exhibition team has an 86-year history and performs around 250 shows in 46 states from December to April each year. Their ball-handling skills rival those of pro legends such as Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and the team performs for political figures and celebrities alike. In late 2011, the team launched a virtual game of H.O.R.S.E, which allows viewers to enter videos of outrageous successful shots to win tour tickets.

This month, the players in red, white, and blue return to the River City for their first show in the new arena, and fans of the “Amazing Race” may recognize Lang and his teammate, Nathaniel “Big Easy” Loften, as runners up in season 18. Here, Lang talks about the team and what to expect during the show.

What is it like to audition for the Harlem Globetrotters?
Tryouts are a normal basketball tryout with drills and scrimmages. A lot of people think that going to the Globetrotters basketball camp is all about tricks, but we play a lot of competitive basketball. At the end of the day, when the tricks are done, people want to see if you can put the basketball through the hoop.

How do you get yourself excited for each show?
We do a lot of action where we bring people from the crowd onto the floor. I'm entertained to see what these people are going to do just as much as they're entertained to see what we're going to do.

Globetrotters are a tradition here in Evansville. What can fans expect this year that they haven't seen in years past?
You'll see great basketball, half-line slam-dunks, a lot of crowd action, and great family entertainment. We have the tallest professional basketball player from Guinness World Records, Paul "Tiny" Sturgess, who’s 7 feet 8 inches tall. Overall, it's a great opportunity to see our new rookies, the old guys, and a live show.

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