John David Duke Lane Jr. remembers taking his family to see the Harlem Globetrotters play in Macon years ago, so when he heard they would be in Macon in 2016, he felt like it would be a perfect opportunity to show his grandson and some other family members just what a thrill it could be to see them in person.
So he bought them tickets as a Christmas presents.
Based on the reactions of his grandson, John David Duke Lane IV, the gift was a slam dunk.
"I am real excited to see some of the things they do," said 4-year old Lane IV, who says he loves basketball but is not quite old enough to play in a league yet. "I have been excited all day, and I know that they can dribble and shoot really well, and they will dunk, too."
Lane IV was dribbling a basketball with his cousin, 7-year-old Hudson Hodge, who was equally excited to be at the Coliseum.
"I have seen the Globetrotters on television before but not in person," Hodge said.
The players were also excited to be in Macon.
"This really never gets old for us," said Saul "Flip" White, who is known for his 47-inch vertical leap and spectacular dunking, even though he is a tad under 6-foot. "When the lights come on and we see those faces of the kids, it changes everything. I mean, I still get nervous before these games, but it's more of an excited nervous now. I have been doing this for five years now, and I just really enjoy it."
Christian Burgess, who was sitting in the front row, got way more than she bargained for during the game. The Stratford preschool teacher ended up as part of the Globetrotters' act. Midway through the second quarter, Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton, the chief showman on the team, stole her purse, which eventually helped the team score a basket. But minutes later, to her shock, she ended up at midcourt, where she shared a dance and a kiss on the cheek with Lofton. For her efforts, she received two freshly sweated on wristbands.
"When he came and took my purse, I figured that I was in trouble," said Burgess, who was in attendance with her daughter Kate and her friend Caroline Dent. "I am really not a person who would go out and dance like that, but it was all in good fun. My daughter and her friend were just so excited when I got back to my seat, and they wanted the wristbands right away."