The NBA Draft is still a day away, but the Harlem Globetrotters got the fun started a little early this week with their 10th annual draft. Of course, this is a unique draft in that the Globetrotters are drafting people based on athletic skill, personality, all-around passion for the game, and more.

“We like to think outside the box with our draft, so we look at all different kinds of athletes that could have the qualities of a Harlem Globetrotter,” said Sweet Lou Dunbar, the Globetrotters’ coach and director of player personnel. “Traditionally we have looked for talent at the annual college slam dunk contest, where this year Devan Douglas certainly stood out for us. But we also look beyond the court, for those athletes and entertainers that have the qualities of not only being great on the court or the field, but also being a good person off of it. Those are the most important traits that make a true Globetrotter.”

Douglas, in fact, is the only true basketball player “drafted” by the Globetrotters this year. The 2016 College Basketball Dunk contest winner out of the University of Mary could indeed have a future with the Globetrotters with these skills though…

It’s worth noting that this draft has paid off for the Globetrotters in the past, with current team members Anthony “Ant” Atkinson, Tay “Firefly” Fisher, William “Bull” Bullard and Corey “Thunder” Law selected through that process. The team does tend to go for some picks less likely to join as well, though, and they did that again this year. The Globetrotters also drafted Olympic gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin (who played some high school basketball), golfer Jordan Spieth (whose brother plays basketball for Brown), Brazillian soccer star Neymar Jr. (basically a soccer Globetrotter with his footwork) and comedian Kevin Hart. Hart, of course, is a four-time NBA Celebrity All-Star Game MVP.

While much of what the Globetrotters really is about having fun through basketball, this year the Globetrotters also used their draft to pay tribute to Craig Sager of TNT. Sager was an honorary draft pick as recognition for all he’s done to help promote and cover the game of basketball. At the root of everything the Globetrotters do, basketball is used to convey a larger positive message, and selecting Sager for his career dedicated to the good of the sport is a testament to the impact Sager has had on the game. Sager, who continues his battle with leukemia, jumped aboard the ESPN broadcast team for his first experience covering the NBA Finals.

[Harlem Globetrotters]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.