This week we feature a Harlem Globetrotters souvenir brochure from circa 1958, generously gifted to MOCA by our Board Member Roy Delbyck. As a “pictorial and souvenir brochure and programme” it provides a write-up on the Globetrotters’ tour of Europe that year. 1958 would mark their ninth year touring Europe and, based on the write-up, the Globetrotters traveled through eleven countries and played a total of 101 games. Highlights include playing in London during the 1958 London Bus Strike, making appearances at the Brussels World Expo (Expo 58) by request of the United States State Department, and describing the logistical nightmare that involved transporting an entire basketball court (hoops, wood planks, and everything in between) from one European city to another.
As one familiar with the Globetrotters would know, many of their games are staged basketball matches, and most often than not, the Globetrotters would win their games against an exhibition team known as the Washington Generals. But based on this event held in the United Kingdom, it seems that the Globetrotters changed it up and decided to play against the San Francisco Chinese Basketball Team. It is unclear whether the San Francisco Chinese Basketball Team played other games with the Globetrotters during their tour, but news articles released the following year about the Globetrotters’ tour in Russia indicate that the San Francisco Chinese Basketball team exhibitions aren’t necessarily a one-off thing.
Details about the San Francisco Chinese Basketball Team are featured in the program. In addition to the basic information one can expect to learn about players, such as name, player position, height, and weight, the program interestingly also includes the Anglicized Cantonese-Chinese names of the players. Another program feature that is relevant to our historical mission at MOCA is the inclusion of George Lee, the “Extraordinary Balancing Chinese-American”, as part of the halftime show entertainment.