By Sheldon Baker
Health E-Insights: How did you become a Globetrotter?
Mr. Barnette: Bill Rohr, my college coach at Miami University of Ohio, was aware of my ambition for becoming a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. He wrote to the club’s owner, Abe Saperstein, with my request. Abe and I corresponded, until he offered me a tryout and the rest is history. Abe hired me and made my dream come true.
Health E-Insights: Would you agree that today’s Globetrotters have a new approach on the court?
Mr. Barnette: Yes. There is more of a business atmosphere combined with the sport of basketball. The only familiarity is the Harlem Globetrotters brand. Every year the players are changed and fans are constantly reminded throughout the game of their sponsors and to purchase merchandise.
Health E-Insights: How were injuries handled in the era you played?
Mr. Barnette: We certainly didn’t have sports medicine. We were playing a game in Mexico, in a bullfighting arena. I had on regular knee pads. The ground was so tough that my pads buckled under me exposing my knees and caused a gash on the side of my patella. After I finished my routine I went to the locker room for peroxide. J.C. Gibson, our six-foot, eight-inch forward weighing in at 280 pounds sat on my humble 165 pound frame. The guys poured peroxide on my wound and I had to continue playing basketball. We were the original Streetballers.
Health E-Insights: Would you consider meals provided by the team to be healthy food?
Mr. Barnette: No. We received a food allowance from the team. The food we were served at local restaurants was the equivalent to a fast food diet today, which we know is not conducive to the health conscious fitness trainers of today's standards.
Health E-Insights: Was nutrition ever discussed?
Mr. Barnette: Another no. We did not have dietitians or nutritionists—and certainly no sports drinks or vitamins.
Health E-Insights: How would you categorize your health today?
Mr. Barnette: I was known as the dribbling wizard and I slid on my knees in swimming pools and many types of surfaces, which eventually damaged both knees. The right knee was so severely injured that I had surgery in August 2009. The surgery has still not completely alleviated my pain and I cannot walk anywhere in or outside of home without the aid of a walking device.
Health E-Insights: What were some of the countries you traveled to?
Mr. Barnette: We traveled to over 80 countries. The more memorable include Thailand, Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Mexico.
Health E-Insights: Did you experience racial injustice when you traveled to other countries?
Mr. Barnette: It was predominantly a U.S. matter.
Health E-Insights: Who was your most favorite Globetrotter you played with?
Mr. Barnette: Bobby ‘Showboat’ Hall. He was truly magical with his master ball handling and his outstanding half court hoop shot.
Sheldon Baker is well known for creating nutraceutical brand marketing and public relations campaigns. For Health E-Insights interview consideration, contact him at Sheldon@NutraInk.com. And follow him on Twitter @NutraInk.