Harlem Globetrotters write open letter asking NBA to make them a franchise

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FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2008, file photo, the Harlem Globetrotters’ Fred “Curly” Neal performs during a timeout in the second quarter in an NBA basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix. Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of three decades, has died the Globetrotters announced Thursday, March 26, 2020. He was 77. Neal played for the Globetrotters from 1963-85, appearing in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries for the exhibition team known for its combination of comedy and athleticism. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

NEW YORK — There might be a third New York NBA team, if the world famous Harlem Globetrotters have anything to do with it.

The Globetrotters, who have been wowing the world with their hoops hijinks since 1926, say they’re looking for a “long overdue seat at the table” and demanding they be made part of the league’s potential expansion.

“Our players were instrumental in the integration of the league dating back to 1949,” their statement reads. “We stood proudly as our players were recruited by NBA teams.”

It appears the Globetrotters have grown weary of beating up on the Washington Generals night in and night out.

“After years of attracting the best Black players, it’s time the NBA recognized our contribution to the game. With the league already considering an expansion, the time has come. The Harlem Globetrotters stand ready to negotiate for a franchise.”

The NBA has yet to respond to the letter. There have been reports as recent as last month that the league is planning to expand to 32 teams, joining the NFL and (starting in October) the NHL in that number.

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