December 23, 2011
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By Alexander Vassiliadis
To complete 85 years worth of tradition, the internationally known team that started out in the U.S., are back in their hometown of Chicago. Pioneers of moves such as the alley-oop and the slam dunk, the Harlem Globetrotters have played more than 20,000 exhibition games in more than 120 countries worldwide.
As the team recruits new players almost every year, this year’s additions are quite the bunch.
Jacob “Hops” Tucker aka the “dunking monster,” hails from Carlyle, Ill. Champion of the 2011 College Slam Dunk Contest, playing for Illinois College at the time, Tucker gained his nickname for his 50-inch vertical jump. At 5 feet 10 inches tall, that kind of jumping power was recognized as nothing short of extraordinary. Not long after the Globetrotters drafted him at the dunk contest, he began training in October along with the rest of the team. After a couple months of practice he said he’s ready to hit the stage.
“It’s an honor to continue the tradition by being part of Harlem Globetrotters’ history,” Tucker said. “Bringing smiles to people’s faces when they leave is what it’s all about and you can really do that with some of the best ball handlers, shooters, and dunkers in the world.”
Also joining the group is Fatima “TNT” Maddox. At 5 feet 6 inches, Maddox earns her title with her explosive ball handling and high-energy performance on the court. She played in college at Temple University until 2007 and then went overseas and played professionally in Sweden. Maddox is the ninth woman to ever play with the Globetrotters, and the first since 1993.
“My first time was at a pickup game when I was 13, and I fell in love with the game right away,” Maddox said. “It’s really an honor to be playing with the team and especially with such talented and gifted players.”
The Globetrotters hit the court on Dec. 30 at Allstate Arena. For more information or to get tickets, visit Harlem Globetrotters.
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