One of the winningest basketball teams ever to take the court wants in on the NBA.
The Harlem Globetrotters sent an open letter to the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday, requesting the league designate the club an NBA franchise following the decades of contributions, innovation and, most importantly, players from the team that have benefited the growth of the Association.
"Based on what we've already proven, we can field a team of talent on par with the pros of today, and we want the chance to do that. As a world renowned and legendary professional basketball team, we petition Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA governors and the powers that be to grant The Original Harlem Globetrotters an NBA franchise. Not now, but right now!"
The world-famous exhibition team that founded in 1926 and has won more than 27,000 games (.987 winning percentage) was a launchpad for some of the NBA's most famous early stars, starting with Wilt Chamberlain, as well as Connie Hawkins, Louis Klotz, Bernie Price, Chuck Cooper and Nat Clifton—with the latter two the first Black players drafted into the NBA and the first to sign an NBA contract, respectively.
Earl Lloyd, another former Globetrotter, was the first Black man to appear in an NBA game.
Citing those contributions, along with helping the NBA get off the ground during the league's early years and taking the game around the world, the Globetrotters want the NBA to acknowledge all the team has done for the sport and grant them entry to the league.
"Congratulations on growing into a multi-billion-dollar industry with international endeavors and huge media deals," the Globetrotters wrote. "We've kept our heads down and focused on what means the most to us—world class basketball showmanship, uniting families and spreading joy of the game. If you really believe what you've been saying about social justice, going back to 'normal' needs to look different. You can't just act like we don't exist anymore. It's time to right the wrongs and rewrite history. It's time for the NBA to honor what the Globetrotters have done for OUR sport, both here in the U.S. and around the globe."