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One-on-one with the Globetrotters

Harlem Globe Trotters team member Jimmy “Happy” Twyman talks basketball with John Marak, 8, during basketball camp at Jackson Park Youth & Teen Center Thursday. -
Harlem Globe Trotters team member Jimmy “Happy” Twyman talks basketball with John Marak, 8, during basketball camp at Jackson Park Youth & Teen Center Thursday.
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Nearly 100 children got to shoot hoops with the Harlem Globetrotters this week.

Three members of the Globetrotters hosted a youth basketball camp for military kids July 16-20 at the Jackson Park Youth & Teen Center. More than 80 children, ages 6-16, attended the week-long camp.

The Harlem Globetrotters travel the globe demonstrating their skills on the basketball court to an estimated three million people a year. They are currently traveling to eight military bases in the United States to host camps for children.

“It’s a good thing to get the Globetrotters in the community and share our magic with the kids,” said Barry “High Rise” Hardy, a Harlem Globetrotters coach.

During the week-long camp, Hardy, Dwayne “Swoop” Simpson and Jimmy “Happy” Twyman taught the children basketball fundamentals and completed on-court drills. The Globetrotters also taught sessions on academics, character, leadership, sportsmanship and the history of the Harlem Globetrotters. The children received a T-shirt, along with photographs and autographs from the Globetrotters.

Laurie Stearns, manager of the Admiral Boorda Youth & Teen Center on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, attended a conference and was asked to host the Harlem Globetrotters youth basketball camp at Naval Base Kitsap. She coached basketball for 12 years and was deemed the “perfect candidate” to host the event. Stearns enjoyed seeing the children leave the camp with smiles on their faces.

“They’re just talking their parents’ ears off when they get home,” she said with a smile.

Hardy said he enjoys hosting events for military children because the week-long camp allows them to have fun and not think about their parents’ absences when called to duty.

“The main thing is for the kids to have fun, take their minds away from those things,” he said.

Hardy and the other Globetrotters enjoy traveling around the world showing off their talents and making children smile.

“After a while you get used to traveling and seeing the kids smile and improve at basketball, it’s all worthwhile in the end,” he said.

Maxine Vanichkul, 11, was not familiar with the Harlem Globetrotters before this week. She enjoyed learning basketball skills from the experienced players and playing games against her peers. She even dunked the basketball in the shorter hoops at the Jackson Park Youth & Teen Center.

“I can dunk,” she said with a smile. “I can reach the hoop.”

Gavin Moren, 7, also didn’t know the Harlem Globetrotters, but later learned the extent of their fame.

“Yep, they were famous,” he said with a smile.

Hardy has been a member of the Harlem Globetrotters for 15 years. He enjoys working with the younger Globetrotters and improving their skills.

“In a position as coach I get to teach these young guys,” Hardy said. “Hopefully they receive the same thing from it I have.”

Jennifer Lilly brought her 6-year-old daughter, Autumn, and her friends to the youth basketball camp. She enjoyed watching the Harlem Globetrotters teach them important basketball skills.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “They really interact with the kids.”

Lilly said Autumn didn’t know who the Globetrotters were before the camp, but she was impressed with their skills from the first day.

“She came home the first day and said ‘he shot the ball from the middle of the court and it went in!’” she said with a smile.

The Harlem Globetrotters have been traveling the world for many years and Stearns hopes the youth basketball camp was a memorable experience for the children.

“Half of their parents grew up with the Harlem Globetrotters, now they get to say which ones they grew up with,” she said.

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