Video: Harlem Globetrotter visits Houston County Sharks
Anthony "Buckets" Blakes has played a lot of basketball in his life.
After a stellar college career at Wyoming, Blakes played in the CBA and the NBA's D-League and then headed to Europe, where he continued his professional career.
But 14 years ago, Blakes got an out of-the-blue call from a Harlem Globetrotters scout and signed a 10-day contract to play with the team.
Blakes has been with the Globetrotters ever since, and he has visited more than 75 countries, including most of those more than once. And he has been able to do what he loves most, which is to give back to the community as part of the Globetrotters.
"We have lots of cool stuff going on, and it really never gets old, and if it did I wouldn't still be here," Blakes said. "The great thing about playing for the Globetrotters is that when you play 30 or 40 games in a row, and when you get to the venue, you wonder how you are going to make it through that 31st game. But when the lights go down and the smoke starts to spray, we run out and the lights come on, and we see that kid's face who has heard all the stories but has never seen the Harlem Globetrotters play before, you just get that burst of energy that comes over you and you don't want to let that kid down. That just inspires us to go another 30 games. I think that's the beauty of it."
Blakes and the Globetrotters return to the Macon Coliseum at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The Globetrotters last played in Macon in 2014.
The Globetrotters have three Guinness Book of World Record holders on the team that will visit Macon. Blakes holds the record for the most underhanded shots made from halfcourt in a minute with six, while Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton holds the record for the longest hook shot ever made and the longest blind-folded hook shot ever made. Shane "Scooter" Christensen holds the record for the longest time spinning a basketball on his nose.
But Blakes says the show is much more than the records.
"I am fortunate enough to have a job where I can give back to the community at the same time," Blakes said. "We make it a point to get out into the community and have visited over 400 schools, 300 hospitals and many Salvation Army recreation centers. We talk about anti-bullying, we talk about having great character, and we also have something called the smile patrol, getting kids to smile at hospitals no matter what they are in there for."