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March 22, 2012
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Harlem Globetrotters

By Jared Curtis

Jacob “Hops” Tucker is one of the newest members of the Harlem Globetrotters. The 2012 Harlem Globetrotters World Tour stops at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m. Admission is $25 to $126. For more information, visit or

Team back to Des Moines with a number of new players

For more than 85 years, the Harlem Globetrotters has put the fun in basketball, displaying amazing ball skills and acrobatics like no other team on the planet. The team is easily one of the most recognizable franchises in sports thanks to its acrobatic hijinks on the court. Although numerous stars have risen through the Globetrotters ranks including Wilt Chamberlin, Meadowlark Lemon, Reece “Goose” Tatum and Fred “Curly” Neal, a new breed has taken over. The 2012 rookie class is filled with talented players including the reigning 2011 College Slum Dunk champion Jacob “Hops” Tucker, who at 5 feet 10 inches, has a 50-inch vertical leap.

“I feel very fortunate to be a part of, and play for, the Harlem Globetrotters,” said Tucker. “The Globetrotters name is popular all over the world and they’ve had some huge legends, so joining the team was an easy choice.”

Tucker played ball at Illinois College and led the Blueboys in rebounding during his senior year, which is quite impressive for a player of his height. After creating a highlight video of all his dunks, Tucker was invited to the College Slam Dunk Championship and took home the title. In June, the Globetrotters drafted him.

“Winning the dunk contest opened the door to this amazing opportunity,” he said. “You become a Globetrotter because of your specific talents, so I’m glad to use the gift I’ve been given for the fans’ enjoyment.”

Tucker joined a number of new players on the team including Paul “Tiny” Sturgess (the world’s tallest pro basketball player at 7 feet 8 inches), Jermaine “Stretch” Middleton (7 feet 4 inches) and the shortest Globetrotter ever, 5-feet-2-inch, Jonte “Too Tall” Hall.

“This is one of the most exciting rookie classes we’ve ever had,” Tucker said. “Not only do we have the tallest and smallest players in history, we also have the top three finishers in the college slam dunk contest.”

Also joining the squad this year is the ninth female player in the history of the Globetrotters, Temple standout Fatima “TNT” Maddox.

“TNT is a very good ball handler and shooter, and she definitely earned her spot,” Tucker said. “She’s the first woman Globetrotter in almost 20 years, and she is a great asset to the team.”

Although plenty of fun and excitement goes into a Globetrotter experience, the players practice hard to offer the best show possible.

“We practice like any other team, running plays and focusing on our specific talents,” he said. “We hone our craft and try to make the experience as good as possible.”

Prior to the game, fans can enjoy a unique Globetrotter experience with the Magic Pass. For $15, fans will get on the court with the Globetrotters to learn some of their special tricks and receive autograph opportunities.

“The Magic Pass is great because not only do we work on some tricks with them, but it just makes the overall event more fun and personable,” Tucker said. “We’re one of a few teams that interacts with fans like this, and it’s great seeing the smiles on our their faces.”

Tucker invites everyone out to the event on Sunday, April 1, promising lots of fun and excitement for all ages.

“Stop out and see some of the best shooters, ball handlers and dunkers around in a family friendly and interactive environment,” Tucker said. “If you’re 4 or 84, you’re going to have a ton of fun.” CV

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