HARLEM WIZARDS HISTORY
The Wizards didn't invent show basketball, but their place in history, as a major player in this genre is undeniable. Started in 1962, by a determined sports promoter, Howie Davis, the Wizards continue the tradition began in the thirties of great basketball, and adding in some hot dog and mustard! Now in the 21st century, the Wizards, led by Todd Davis, have modernized show basketball, with their version called, Tricks, Hoops, And Alley-Oops!
The Harlem Wizards are equally impressive for their basketball dominance, their tricks, slams and personality.
They currently own the longest known winning streak in all of professional sports, over 2,800 games! It is more than just their ability to excel on the court that has fueled their longstanding love affair with basketball fans. It is their utter commitment to touching fans, and providing them with a basketball experience that is joyous, astoundingly skillful, exciting and sometimes so hilarious that they leave fans laughing so hard that their boots come loose!
Howie Davis felt that although the Globetrotters were legendary, they were not above competition! He felt that he could bring a fire and creativity to the Wizards to do it even better!
Who knew then, that 50 years later, the Wizards would continue to carve out their own basketball legacy, and take the tradition of show basketball, and evolve it into the trick-hoops & alley-oops of the 21st century?
Other than the Wizards and the Globetrotters, no other entertainment basketball team has survived the test of time and made worldwide fans like these two storied franchises.
THE WIZARDS EVOLVE BEYOND SHOW BALL...
In 2002, Harlem Wizards, "Speedy, "A-Train", and "Mr. Handles", and soon-to-be Wizard "Trikz" appeared in that groundbreaking NIKE commercial, and ex-Wizards like "The Main Event" starred with And1, it reminded us of the great basketball and entertainment talent that the Wizards have always provided.
But while the Wizards continue to break new ground, they have always had a rich tradition of attracting the games best and brightest. NBA Legends like Connie Hawkins and Tiny Archibald have toured with the Wizards. Hawthorne Wingo, Mario Elie, Hollis Copeland and over 25 NBA'ers in total have played with the Wizards.
Streetball Legends like "Sudden Sam" Worthen (Chicago Bulls), "SPEEDY" Williams (Current Wizard), "The Main Event" ,Frankie Bradshaw, Larry "Butterfly" Cheatham, Ed "Czar" Simmons, Frank "Shake & Bake" Streety, , "Headache", Guy Hughes, Clarence "MUGSY" Leggett and "Tojo" Henderson (Current Wizards) Tom "Sundance Kid" Chapin, Vincent White, James "Peanuts" Woolard and other greats have shown their various skills on tour with the Harlem Wizards.
Today's group of Harlem Wizards is as fresh, exciting and innovative as any that have donned the famed purple, black and gold jerseys. Seeing the Wizards is a rare chance to experience basketball history; past, present and future.
On any given night you might just see the next amazing new trick, or the extension of the world's longest winning streak, or the emergence of yet another of the most talented ballers on the planet, you just never know. But one thing's for certain, you will be thrilled, you will be entertained, and for a couple of hours you will believe that there is nothing in the world more fun than basketball.
THE FOUNDING OF THE HARLEM WIZARDS
In 1943, a Sports Promoter, and at the time, Sergeant and Recreation Director at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio, Howie Davis was called upon to provide an emergency 8th team for the World Championship of Basketball Tournament in Chicago. In just one week, he put together the Dayton Dive Bombers Basketball team.
Their first round opponent was the Harlem Globetrotters. Howie Davis, 24, an admirer of the Globetrotters and Abe Saperstein's fusion of Sports and Entertainment, was excited by the challenge. In one of the biggest upsets in sports history, the Dayton Dive Bombers beat the previous World Champions in their first game ever played!
However If Abe Saperstein hadn't refused to shake Howie Davis' hand after the game, would the competitive fuel for starting the Wizards ever have happened? One thing is certain, Davis was inspired that night, and nearly two decades later he launched his own traveling show team - the Harlem Wizards.
"The Harlem squad demonstrated legitimate basketball skill as they assaulted the rim with an arsenal of high-flying dunks to thrill the fans time and again."
Editor in Chief
The Lamron Newspaper
Geneseo State College