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Harlem Globetrotters let fans ‘Rule’ on latest tour

ST. LOUIS - DECEMBER 22:  Harlem Globetrotters show January 6 2012 Scottrade Center St. Louis MO. (Phoby Mark Buckner)

ST. LOUIS - DECEMBER 22: Harlem Globetrotters show on January 6, 2012 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Mark Buckner)

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♦ 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 28

♦ Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Rd., Rosemont

♦ Tickets, $29.35-$183.10 (Magic Pass, $20)

♦ (800) 745-3000;,

The Harlem Globetrotters are just that — globe-trotters. During the course of their new tour, which kicked off Dec. 26 and runs through May 5, 2013, the team will visit 45 states, nine Canadian provinces and eight other countries; more than 300 games will be played.

Their “You Write the Rules” tour stops in the Chicago area Dec. 28 with games at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. It’s a new concept for the team that allows ticketholders to visit and choose the rules the team will play by for the game they are attending. Choices include two-ball basketball, double-the-points, four-point shot (35 feet from the basket), a penalty box for fouls or six-on-five (that’s six opponents to five Globetrotters). With the team playing two games in Rosemont, the rules could be different for each game — depending on how fans vote.

Kevin “Special K” Daley, who’s been with the Globetrotters nine years, said he’s “definitely enjoying it.” The team has tested the concept and it’s been well received, he said. Daley’s favorite rule is two-ball basketball.

Teammate Paul “Tiny” Sturgess, a relative newbie in his second year with the team, agrees.

“It’s a lot different from a normal basketball game,” said Sturgess, who at 7 feet 8 inches is the tallest Globetrotter in history. “It’s a lot of fun for the fans to see that, and their reaction really gets us going.”

Together, the two make the team international from within — Daley hails from Panama City, Panama, and Sturgess from Loughborough, England. Daley holds dual citizenship in Panama and the United States; Sturgess is here on a visa. Both guys went to school in the United States, and both dreamed of playing professional basketball. Making the Harlem Globetrotters’ roster fulfilled those dreams.

“Where I am today is really where I’m supposed to be,” Daley said, “especially since I’ve been here for nine years!”

Expect to hear a lot from him on the court. As the team showman (think George “Meadowlark” Lemon from bygone days), Daley wears a microphone, and as the team comedian, he patters throughout the game.

Given Sturgess’ height, dunking and rebounding are among his key duties. The Globetrotters were the first team to provide him with the opportunity to play competitive round ball, and he’s “enjoying every moment of it. It’s a great honor to be a part of the prestigious history that surrounds the Globetrotters,” he added. “I mean, they’ve been around for 87 years, so it’s great for me to be a part of that. I get to travel the world with them; not too many people can say that.”

Ticketholders usually have two opportunities to meet the Globetrotters during a game — something Daley and Sturgess treasure, especially since both plan to work with kids when they hang up their shoes (though Daley said that’s not happening until he’s 85). A Magic Pass ($20) gets fans into the game for a 30-minute preshow experience in which they spend time on the court with the team shooting hoops, trying trick balls, getting autographs and more (game tickets and soft- or rubber-soled shoes are required). Following almost every game, the Globetrotters remain on the court so that fans can get autographs and have photographs taken.


♦ The Art Institute of Chicago’s annual Holly Days festival, featuring drop-in art activities, runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Dec. 30 in the Ryan Education Center at 111 S. Michigan. Admission is $18 for adults, $12 for kids 14 and older. Call (312) 443-3600 or visit

♦ The Chicago Public Library’s Warm Up with Learning program runs through Jan. 7, 2013, on the library’s website, This free winter challenge encourages families to learn about winter and snow through downloadable reading, science and arts activities. Keep a log of activities and turn it in to receive a free book. Call (312) 747-4780.

♦ The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian offers holiday-inspired craft sessions for families throughout the day Dec. 28 and Jan 2-4. Sessions are free with general admission of $5 for adults and $3 for kids 1 to 17. The Mitchell is at 3001 Central St. in Evanston. Call (847) 475-1030 or visit

♦ Join the Morton Arboretum’s annual yule log hunt from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 30. Once it’s found, gather ’round the bonfire for caroling by the Frozen Robins and wassail. Little ones can join the pint-sized yule twig hunt in the Children’s Garden and the ongoing gnome hunt as well. Be sure to dress for the weather. Admission is $12 for adults and $9 for kids 2 to 17. The arboretum is at 4100 Illinois 53 in Lisle. Call (630) 968-0074 or visit

Jennifer Burklow is a local free-lance writer.

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