I Won’t Have Any Showboating on My Harlem Globetrotters, by Chris Partridge

Okay, Globetrotters! Huddle up and take a knee. I’m your new head coach, Tim McGovern. You may call me “Coach” or “Mr. McGovern.” Refer to me or any of the coaching staff by our Christian names, it’s a lap. No arguments, no excuses – you’re running.

I’ve been watching your game play footage, gentlemen, and I’ve got to say, that is some sloppy basketball. For too long this team has neglected the fundamentals. I’m talking bounce passes, free throws, boxing out—really any semblance of professionalism. But that lack of discipline could be forgiven if it wasn’t for your shameless showboating!

Listen, and listen well, because the hot-doggin’ stops now.

You, Too Tall. In last night’s game in Houston, you sacrificed a fast break opportunity to stop and spin the ball on your finger. Sure, it hypnotized the defender and, while under your power, you convinced him to do the Chicken Dance. But if it were up to me, you would have been riding pine the rest of the season for those shenanigans.

Think I’m not serious? Well try this on for size: No more dunking. Show me you can kiss a gentle layup off the glass night after night, and then we can talk about slams and jams.

And before you say anything, yes I’ve seen your record—695 straight wins. Sure, we win, but we win dirty. We win the wrong way. So as far as I’m concerned, this team starts out 0-0 tomorrow.

What kind of team plays defense by climbing a ladder onto their opponent’s basket and kicking shots away? Responsibility ultimately must fall to your team captain. Meadowlark, these rookies take their cues from you, and when you pull down an opponent’s uniform pants to reveal giant boxer shorts covered in big red hearts, that sets a tone. But that’s not the kind of ball I learned to play as a boy in rural Indiana, and it’s not the kind of ball I taught as assistant coach at Rutgers from 2004 to 2008.

And believe you me, we’re not always going to get officials that lenient. I don’t know how those refs in San Francisco missed Sweet Lou dribbling two balls at the same time, but that is not regulation. And worse, creeping up behind the referee to dump a bucket of confetti on his head—that’s just asking for a technical! It’s disrespectful hooliganism, and I won’t have it on my squad.

Next shakeup: I’m bringing in some fresh talent from our long-time rivals, the Washington Generals. All right, quiet down! These young men play clean, humble basketball, and you hot shots could learn a thing or two from them.

Speaking of the Generals, our schedule shows they’re our only opponent this season, so I want to see each and every one of you in the clubhouse studying tape, looking for vulnerabilities and patterns. And starting Monday, we go to two-a-day practices to improve our conditioning. Because games are won or lost in the fourth quarter, gentlemen. In the waning minutes of play, when kids are snoozing in the stands because it’s a school night and parents are heading to the parking lot to beat the traffic, that’s winning time.

As Harlem Globetrotters, we are role models. And when kids see you wiseacres clowning around, hiding the ball under your jersey and pretending you’re a pregnant lady, what kind of example are we setting? 

Don’t worry; we’re still going to have fun. Because in time, you’ll see there’s nothing more enjoyable than the consistent execution of time-tested plays and hustling back on D.

Now line up for sprints!

Chris Partridge is a comedy writer living in Chicago. His work has been featured on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Splitsider, and College Humor. Check out more of his writing at cpartridge.com or follow Chris on Twitter.

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I Won’t Have Any Showboating on My Harlem […]