The Harlem Globetrotters will get the documentary treatment from the producer of the Academy Award-winning film The Fighter.
Todd Lieberman’s Hidden Pictures is behind the project, which celebrates the barnstorming basketball team that was created in 1926 in Chicago. At first, a serious basketball team that played in the World Professional Basketball Tournament they also became known for their exhibition wins over all-white teams.
But after Reece “Goose” Tatum brought comic hijinks to the team when he joined in 1941 and the ascendent National Basketball Association integrated its ranks, the Globetrotters leaned on comedy and tricks and focused more on entertainment.
At one time the Globetrotters counted Wilt Chamberlain, Connie Hawkins, Olympian Lynette Woodard, the first woman to play for the squad, Marques Haynes, Fred “Curly” Neal and “Sweet Lou” Dunbar among its players.
Kenan Kamwana Holley, an Emmy-winning director with credits for both ESPN Films and NFL Films is slated to direct under his Holley Films banner. Holley was the first African American hired as a producer for NFL Films. Lieberman, Holley and Hall of Fame basketball coach George Karl worked together on Amazon’s upcoming American Basketball Association documentary and Karl is also a producer on this doc.
“The Globetrotters stand as an iconic American brand recognized the world over. For me, they are a joyous childhood memory of a thrilling Saturday afternoon spent with my dad,” Holley said in a statement.
“As a boy, I was intrigued by their mastery and magic, as millions around the world continue to be today. When I look behind the curtain of the Globetrotter’s story, I find a century of world-class athletes turned into world-class entertainers, sometimes organically and sometimes begrudgingly. But always with an intent to keep us smiling, even as the world outside of the arena rings with both joy and pain.”
The Globetrotters are currently on tour in the U.S. and will start their 2024 tour on Dec. 31.
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