The Harlem Globetrotters

The Harlem Globetrotters and World YMCA sign global partnership
Harlem Globetrotters - World YMCA
The World YMCA and the Harlem Globetrotters, two organisations with basketball at its heart, signed an official global partnership at the YMCA 19th World Council in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

This partnership aims to bring more people together to experience basketball through a campaign and ambassadorship that focuses on the power of sport and community.

The YMCA invented basketball. The Harlem Globetrotters are the most beloved sports team on the planet.

Globetrotter President Howard Smith and World YMCA Secretary General Johan Vilhelm Eltvik signed an official partnership agreement, having first met at the 2016 Vatican conference ‘Sport at the Service of Humanity’.

“Our values fit together. Our history fit together. We both put community first and we both have basketball at our core,” Johan said.

“This joint commitment to people, through basketball is why we are delighted to partner together and to serve humanity by encouraging everyone to go play basketball,” Eltvik said.

Howard Smith believes this partnership will not only make both organisations stronger but greatly increase their impact as a social movement.

“The YMCA and Harlem Globetrotters exist to serve others. Our organisations are uniquely entwined and no-one has the legacy, footprint and values we have,” Howard said.

Basketball was invented at the YMCA in Springfield, USA in 1891 to keep rowdy youth busy in the cold New England winter months. Today, basketball is a staple in YMCAs around the world and is a symbol of youth empowerment and community, with the YMCA existing in 120 countries worldwide working for social justice for all young people regardless of religion, race, gender or culture. Founded in 1855 it is the oldest and largest youth movement in the world.

The Harlem Globetrotters are a worldwide icon founded in 1926 synonymous with basketball. They have entertained more than 148 million fans in 123 countries and territories worldwide with a strong focus on family and young people. A number of the Harlem Globetrotter players first learnt how to play basketball through their local YMCAs.

Further information:
World YMCA
Harlem Globetrotters

Media enquiries:
Andrew McKenzie, Executive Secretary – Communications, World YMCA – Email: andrew@ymca.int