|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (September 2012)|
|Location||Harlem, New York|
|Team colors||Purple, Black, and Gold|
The Harlem Wizards are a basketball team whose history goes back to 1962 when it was created by sports promoter, Howie Davis. Unlike most basketball teams, the Harlem Wizards are not primarily focused on winning matches - instead, their aim is to entertain the crowd using a variety of basketball tricks and alley oops. They perform fundraisers at local schools for the students and the rest of the community, displaying their fancy trickery through dribbling, passing, shooting, and dunking. Through these fundraisers, they have raised millions of dollars for "charitable organizations, schools, and foundations across the world." The audience is not only there to watch the Wizards, but also to participate in the show. The Wizards get the crowd involved, often bringing children out onto the floor to be part of a basketball trick or a comedic act.
The Wizards, Globetrotters and Ambassadors are the only show basketball teams left. The theme for the Wizards' 2010-2011 campaign is the "Basketball and Beyond Tour." They hold the longest known winning streak in all of professional sports - over 2,800 games.
According to harlemwizards.com, in 1943, Harlem Wizards creator Howie Davis was working as a Sports Promoter and the Sergeant and Recreation Director at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The World Championship of Basketball Tournament in Chicago asked Davis to provide an emergency 8th team to compete in the tournament. Within one week, Davis assembled the Dayton Dive Bombers. The Dive Bombers' first round opponent in the tournament was the previous World Champion, the Harlem Globetrotters. The Dive Bombers pulled the upset and the Globetrotters' manager, Abe Saperstein, refused to even shake Davis' hand after the game. Davis was intrigued by this event, and twenty years later, he decided to create his own show basketball team, the Harlem Wizards.
Before Davis got into sports management and promotion, Howie Davis played semi-professional baseball for a couple years. He eventually managed the Brooklyn Dodgers football team, the Staten Island Stapes, and the Kokomo Clowns, who actually played in clown outfits. Before creating the Harlem Wizards, he was also a scout for the San Francisco Giants.
In 1962, Davis created the Wizards, wanting to expand on Saperstein's idea of the Globetrotters. Davis wanted the Wizards to be an even more competitive, creative, and entertaining team than the Globetrotters.
Harlem Wizards roster
- Ollie Lee Ledbetter
- Connie Hawkins
- Tiny Archibald
- Hawthorne Wingo
- Mario Elie
- Hollis Copeland
- Sam Worthen
- James "Speedy" Williams
- "The Main Event"
- Frankie Bradshaw
- Larry "Butterfly" Cheatham
- Ed "Czar" Simmons
- Frank "Shake & Bake" Streety
- Guy Hughes
- Clarence "Mugsy" Leggett
- Tom "Sundance Kid" Chapin
- Vincent White
- James "Peanuts" Woolard
- Ralph " Rubber Legs" Sheets
- "About the Harlem Wizards". 2005-2010 Harlem Wizards. 2010. Retrieved 12/11/2010. Check date values in:
- "Harlem Globetrotters Historical Timeline". 1996-2010 Harlem Globetrotters. 2010. Retrieved 12/11/2010. Check date values in:
- "Harlem Wizards History". 2005-2010 Harlem Wizards. 2010. Retrieved 12/11/2010. Check date values in:
- "About Howie Davis". 2005-2010 Harlem Wizards. 2010. Retrieved 12/10/2010. Check date values in:
- "About Todd Davis". 2005-2010 Harlem Wizards. 2010. Retrieved 12/11/2010. Check date values in:
- "The Harlem Wizards". 2007-2010 Wellsville Elementary School. 12/11/2010. Retrieved 12/11/2010. Check date values in:
- "The Harlem Wizards: Team 2010". 2005-2010 Harlem Wizards. 2010. Retrieved 12/10/2010. Check date values in:
- http://www.harlemwizards.com/ - Harlem Wizards website.