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Harlem Globetrotters ‘Fan Powered’ world tour landing in Bangor

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BANGOR – March in Maine usually coincides with our earliest signs of spring. The snow banks are fading, the temperature is beginning to creep upward, and the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters will soon arrive for another evening of unrivaled family entertainment at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

The Harlem Globetrotters “Fan Powered” world tour will bring the iconic athletes and entertainers to Cross Insurance Center on March 26, at 7 p.m. A special “Magic Pass” pregame event is scheduled to occur 90 minutes before the game, where fans can spend time on the court with the team – shooting, spinning balls and obtaining autographs and photos.

Columbus, Ohio native Zeus McClurkin (#30) paid an advance visit to Bangor as team ambassador. The 6’8” forward visited schools, hospitalized children at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and local media.

“This is my first visit to Bangor and I’ve had a great time,” McClurkin said, not long after returning from popular Brewer eatery, The Eagle’s Nest, located on Route 9.

“I had a lobster omelet this morning,” McClurkin said with a laugh. “I learned something new today. I didn’t know you could have lobster for breakfast.”

McClurkin, a real estate investor and a minister at his church, says he takes advantage of advance visits to cities where his team is scheduled to appear to talk to young people about anti-bullying and perseverance, using his own story as an example.

Prior to his junior year of high school, McClurkin had been cut from every team he tried out for.

“They said I would never make it and that basketball was no place for somebody as nice as I am,” McClurkin said. “The naysayers kept me going and I was determined to prove them wrong. I continued to push, and by the grace of God, I grew five inches over one summer leading up to the 11th grade.”

McClurkin admits that experience was painful to endure but says he now understands that it helped him become the man he is today.

“I had a coach that told me that I lacked a killer instinct and I was dead set on proving that you don’t need to have that to be successful in this sport,” he said. “I believe I did that, man. I’ve been playing for the Harlem Globetrotters for the past eight years and have put smiles on the faces of people all over the world.”

McClurkin told me that his earliest childhood memory of The Harlem Globetrotters was seeing them in animated form when the team appeared on an episode of “Scooby-Doo.”

“I remember thinking how awesome it would be if they were a real team because they looked like me and they had superhero ability,” McClurkin said. “Later on in life, I actually played against the Globetrotters when I played for The Washington Generals for one season. That was when I fell in love with the Harlem Globetrotters.”

McClurkin is one of the few former Washington Generals players to be promoted to The Harlem Globetrotters.

The Washington Generals basketball team has a long history of opposing – and losing to – The Harlem Globetrotters in each city where the team appears.

According to the team’s website, The Washington Generals claim three victories over The Harlem Globetrotters – in 1954, 1958 and the most famous victory in 1971.

The story goes that the Harlem Globetrotters were having so much fun making people laugh, they lost track of the score and the clock. With two minutes left in the game, the Globetrotters were down 12 points when they decided to drop the shenanigans and play real basketball. It wasn’t enough to rally for the win.

“There’s a funny story that goes with that,” McClurkin told me. “The guy who scored the winning shot (team founder Louis “Red” Klotz) is on record saying that the next day was the worst day of his life. He was getting hate mail and phone calls from people saying it was like he had killed Santa Claus, because The Harlem Globetrotters are always supposed to win.”

In 2017 and 2018, McClurkin earned four Guinness Book of World Records titles (the most basketball slam dunks in one minute (16), the most bounced three-pointers in one minute (5), most blindfolded basketball slam dunks in one minute (5) and most behind-the-back three pointers, with three baskets made).

“I think I’ll try to break those records, just to make sure nobody else breaks them,” McClurkin said, when I asked him how many records he planned to set this year. “If I get one more, I’ll have the most Guinness World Record titles of anyone on the team, and that’s a good record to have.”

Tickets for The Harlem Globetrotters appearance at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, on March 26, at 7 p.m., are available at www.CrossInsuranceCenter.com. Tickets that include the “Magic Pass” fan event, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., are available at www.HarlemGlobetrotters.com.

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