Over 90 years ago Abe had a vision to travel around the world showcasing the game of basketball. What a dream to come true, for a young boy whose family migrated to the United States from London, England at the age of 6, ending up in Chicago. What made this man within his greatness change the sports world as we know it today? Could it have been being an athlete in his youth led him to have the inspiration to be a coach and one day owner? Was it because he grew up poor and maybe that is where he acquired his philanthropic ways? Donating proceeds of games that were played to orphanages and charities all over the world. Did growing up Jewish in a predominantly German and Irish neighborhood help shape his personality...to be able to deal with promoters and make friends all over the world? And possibly him being a youth welfare worker and counselor in Chicago playgrounds. Help develop his love for kids and spreading joy all over the world? Whatever it was, he went from an earlier take home pay of portion of a gate receipt of $2.40 in 1929. To his team being the #1 sports attraction in 1950 and grossing over 1.2 million dollars in 18 days in 1953. (The series between the College All American against the Globetrotters) Abe also gave men of color the opportunity to showcase their God-given talents and share them with the world. What is most important is that Abe and his Original Harlem Globetrotters broke down racial barriers, erased myths and  brought people together all over the world. The legacy that Abe left on the game of basketball will never be matched or forgotten.

 

Thank you Abe...

 

Abe wrote this for the "Go Man Go" book* in 1952:

"I consider myself the most fortunate person on earth. For I am the man that found the golden basket. I dreamed of a time when we would be able to travel around the world, playing as we went places where it had never been played before. Now that dream has been realized. We celebrated our 25th anniversary by making the first world touring basketball history. The game of basketball has come of age. I truly believe that the day is not far off when basketball will be recognized as the international sport. The Globetrotters carried around the world the American creed of sportsmanship and proved, once and for all, that sports is an effective common denominator. We erected basketball courts where there weren’t any; made friends, and in our own way, tried to “sell America”, wherever we went. I think we succeeded.

-Abe Saperstein

*Go Man Go is a book by Dave Zinkoff, published in 1958, which is a Funny collection of stories about "America's most successful ambassadors of goodwill"

Copyright 2019 The Andy Johnson Foundation

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