Being Part of Basketball History

Zeus McClurkin is the front man for the Harlem Globetrotters. He is the Globetrotter who does all the media interviews to promote a visit by the Clown Princes of Basketball. They visited the KFC Yum! Center last weekend. McClurkin, who played college basketball at North Carolina A&T, is also the current world record holder for most dunks in one minute. He slammed home 15 in a minute in November.

How did the idea come about to go after a World Record?
Every year the Guiness Book of World Records reaches out to the Globetrotters and sees if there are any world records that we are interested in breaking, and this year I kind of threw my hat in. They came up with the world record of, how many dunks can you do in one minute. I said, “Plenty, I can go straight up and down and just dunk the ball about 30 times in one minute.” Then they said that the guidelines are that you have to go behind the free throw between each dunk. That was a little more difficult for somebody with exercise-induced asthma. I was able to muster through it – the previous record was 14 and I made it to 15.

What is the most you had done in practice?
Before actually doing it, I had only done about 13. I couldn’t get past that, but then having my teammates there cheering for me, saying my name and passing me the ball every time, I was able to get up to 15.

Have you seen the book out with your name in it?
No, not yet, it won’t be issued until next year.

So I could beat it and you’d never even get in there?
It could happen. I’m a little scared now, but I’ll just beat it the next year.

Assuming I don’t break it, seeing your name there is something you’re excited for?
Yes, it’s history. I was already a part of history by playing for the world’s most famous team. If you think about it, we’ve been around for 90 years now, since 1926, and something that was really special for me, the Globetrotters were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. So I get a chance to tell everybody that I’m a Hall of Famer. Now, not only am I a Hall of Famer, but I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records.

What is your favorite trick?
Probably the rock the cradle dunk. That’s my favorite dunk to do and do in the game.

What is your favorite trick to see?
My teammate, Smooth, he can do a 360 between-the-legs dunk on cue. It’s great.

What gets the biggest reaction from the crowd?
The crowd definitely loves when we bring out a kid to the court and maybe we spin the ball on their finger or we allow them to shoot a shot. They really like when we’re in the crowd and we’re shooting shots from the stands. We shoot a lot of shots during the year, and our percentage is so high because we practice so much.
What is the coolest city you have visited with the Globetrotters?
Besides Louisville, the coolest place I’ve ever been is Tel Aviv in Israel. I’m a minister at my church, so that place holds a lot of history for me because we were able to go to Jerusalem and I got a chance to see all these things that I read about every Sunday. That was amazing.

How many nights a year are you on the road?
About six months, but it’s not consecutive. Right now, we’re in the middle of our U.S. tour, which is about four months in the beginning of every year. It starts on Christmas Day, and it ends in mid-April or so. Then, we’ll do things throughout the year. We’ll do training camps for kids, and we’ll do summer skills camps for kids. That’s also part of what we do called the Great Assist this year. Fans can log online to harlemglobetrotters.com/greatassist and you can nominate a worthwhile cause. Anybody you know who needs a smile, the Globetrotters will be there, and we’ll do the best that we can to try to get that person to smile.


Photos By TIM VALENTINO