BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

All about the fans

If you find yourself at the Minot State Dome at 7 p.m. Thursday, you might also find yourself rubbing elbows with the winningest basketball team in the history of professional sports.

The Harlem Globetrotters, winners of more than 20,000 games since their inception in 1927, will grace the MSU Dome with their flashy, fan-interaction style of basketball. It will be the fourth and final North Dakota show the Globetrotters perform during their 2014 “Fans Rule” World Tour.

“We’re the Harlem Globetrotters, and we want to give you the opportunity to come out and decide what you want to see,” said Jonathan “Hawk” Johnson, a second-year member of the Globetrotters and Marshall University graduate. “The fans are always a big part of the game.”

Fans will not only be a part of the game, they’ll also dictate the rules within it.

The “Fans Rule” tour is about giving fans the power to elect tricks they hope to witness from the Globetrotters.

The “hot-hand jersey” awards double points to the player wearing it. The number of players allowed on the court depends on the number of shots made in “make or miss.” In the “trick shot challenge,” teams get five points for making a trick shot, but it’s five points for the other team if they miss.

Online voting for these three options is still open at harlemglobetrotters.com.

“It really gives fans the opportunity to vote for the craziest rule that they want to see,” Johnson said.

In the last 88 years, the Globetrotters franchise has played in 122 countries for over 138 million fans. The team played in Jamestown Monday and will also perform in Bismarck and Williston this week before visiting Minot on Thursday.

With such a full schedule, fitness is key for the Globetrotters.

“We play every single day,” Johnson said. “We feel like it’s our job to stay in shape, to work out outside of basketball, so it’s not hard to stay fit.

“This year, we’ve happened to play 290 games in 250 cities over 47 different states, as well as six Canadien provinces and Puerto Rico. So, we’re playing every day, we’re getting the runaround, but it’s fun for us. We enjoy doing it.”

Minot fans will also have the opportunity to meet the team, up close and personal.

Fans can purchase a “Magic Pass” for $20, which allows them an opportunity to spend time with the Globetrotters on the court – shooting, trying ball tricks and getting autographs and photos – starting at 5:30 p.m.

Ticket prices for Thursday’s show start at $22 and can be purchased at msudome.com, harlemglobetrotters.com or the MSU Dome box office.

It promises to be a fun show for all in attendance.

“I love having that one-on-one basis with the fans, being able to high-five them and interact with them,” Johnson said. “We want you to be a part of the game.”

Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch-MDN.