The 2012 Oscar (Robertson) Awards: Lifetime Achievement in Basketball Movies

In tribute/homage/ripoff to that movie-award ceremony thing going on in Los Angeles this evening PST, BallinEurope bestows its own prizes for the best in basketball movies released and/or screened during the year that was — as BiE refers to them, the Oscar (Robertson)s.

Second of the four Oscar (Robertson) Awards for 2012 is the result of a new wrinkle — and a couple of salient reminders of what certain folks have given to the game of basketball. BallinEurope’s new Oscar (Robertson) for Lifetime Achievement in Basketball Movies goes to The Harlem Globetrotters.

Known worldwide for their standing as the winningest franchise of all-time, for their status as international goodwill ambassadors, for serving as the last high-profile barnstorming team in any sport, the Globetrotters have also amassed quite the impressive CV of credits in the movie game as well … at least before the 1980s. For Globetrotters in the mass media, there’s

– Columbia Pictures’ “The Harlem Globetrotters” (1950), a fiction about a baller who drops out of college to join the squad;

– the sequel “Go, Man, Go!” released in 1954;

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How to make the Harlem Globetrotters relevant again

Given the premise, BallinEurope probably should have guessed at the response. Yesterday’s post, entitled “Are the Harlem Globetrotters still relevant?”, drew less readership than imagined. Which, one supposes, is logical.

Nevertheless, a promise to actually propose a few solutions to fixing up the modern-day irrelevance of a cultural-historical force rare in the game of basketball was made. So, in the hopes that someone from Harlem Globetrotters Basketball Inc. may someday consider this modest proposal, BiE would like to offer the following suggestions in order to make the Globetrotters a household name and raise this team/institution’s standing in the cross-cultural currency of the 21st century.

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Are the Harlem Globetrotters still relevant?

Budapest last night played host to the Harlem Globetrotters, and BallinEurope was among the approximately 4,000 in attendance. Though a generally good time appeared to have been had by all – and particularly, of course, the preteens for whom the team’s brand of tomfoolery is really for – BiE just couldn’t help but wonder at just how relevant this 1920s creation is in the 21st century, despite basketball’s still-burgeoning popularity worldwide.

With a promise to keep the when-I-was-a-lad curmudgeonly rhetoric to a minimum, BiE can tell you i last saw the Harlem Globetrotters in Budapest in 1999 before a crowd nearly twice the size as last night’s. Having essentially gone the entire decade not having seen the Globetrotters in any form, i thrilled to the old refreshing antics, maybe 80% of which i’d utterly forgotten and thus were nearly as amusing at thirtysomething as at eight years old.

In between then and now, of course, the entire basketball landscape – how it is organized, played and especially watched – has changed utterly, slamming gears into the 21st century and quite possibly leaving the Harlem Globetrotters well behind. It is possible in North America to literally watch 24 hours of back-to-back basketball with a little assistance from TiVo (and certainly many tens of thousands have recently attempted this feat with March Madness in full swing); thanks to the expansion of live-streaming and IPTV technology, anywhere in the world equipped with fiber optics can allow a basketball enthusiast outside the ‘States to do likewise.

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