The Harlem Globetrotters selected Rivera on Tuesday (amongst four other athletes) in the seventh-annual honorary player draft, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. As an honorary member, players are given the opportunity to actually join the Globetrotters if they choose to do so.
Brittney Griner, college slam dunk champion Doug Anderson, NAIA All-American Tyrone Davis and High-Point University's Corey Law were the other four athletes selected by the Globetrotters on Tuesday.
The Globetrotters issued the following quote (via Marchand) regarding the selection of Rivera:
And in the fourth quarter, when the Globetrotters need to close out a game, who better than the best closer of all-time? Mariano Rivera has made a living by finishing off opponents. We always have a place on our roster for winning athletes with that kind of mindset. His charitable work through the Mariano Rivera Foundation also embodies the spirit of the Globetrotters giving back to the community.
Rivera, arguably the best pure athlete on the Yankees, has (as far as my own extensive research can tell) absolutely no history in basketball. As far as I know, the most he's played is in a few pick-up games here and there.
Would Rivera be a good basketball player?
That being said, the 6'2" closer likely wouldn't be half-bad. He's a great athlete, tall enough to be a guard and has the fan following to bring some more excitement to the arena. Not to mention the fact that he already has a nickname ("Mo").
All fun aside, it's extremely likely (like, almost 100 percent likely) that Rivera will respectfully turn down the offer. The Harlem-based team likely extended the invite to Rivera as a way to congratulate him on such a storied career, similar to how other MLB teams have done just that this season.
Being an honorary member is likely enough for the best closer in baseball history, though it's good to know that he has options moving forward if he chooses to become a different kind of full-time entertainer.