New Jersey Reds
Atlantic City Seagulls
New York Nationals
|Team colors||Green and Yellow
|Head coach||Red Klotz|
|Championships||ABL: 7 (1933-34, 1935-36, 1936-37, 1939-40, 1940-41, 1942-43, 1944-45)|
The Generals were created in 1952 by Louis "Red" Klotz as a redesignation of the Philadelphia Sphas basketball team. Globetrotters’ owner Abe Saperstein had invited Klotz to create a squad to accompany his team on their tours. With a nod to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the team was named the Washington Generals.
The Generals provided deliberately ineffective opposition as a foil for the Globetrotters' comedy routines. The Globetrotters' acts often featured incredible coordination and skillful handling of one or more basketballs, such as passing or juggling balls between players, balancing or spinning balls on their fingertips, and making unusual, difficult shots. The Generals on the other hand would try to play a game of "serious" basketball in return.
During the 1971-72 season, the Generals' name was alternated with the Boston Shamrocks, New Jersey Reds, Baltimore Rockets, and Atlantic City Seagulls. It was actually the same team of players but they would change uniforms between games to give the appearance of more teams. The team would rotate between these identities for a few seasons before going back to the Generals identity full-time.
From 1953 until 1995, the Generals played exhibitions against the Globetrotters, winning only six games, the last in 1971, and losing more than 13,000.
Klotz eventually "disbanded" the Generals in 1995, forming a new team, the New York Nationals, which also has achieved an impressive losing streak. In reality, of course, it was the same team; Klotz merely retired the Washington Generals identity. The Nationals remain a separate organization from the Globetrotters. Harlem claims its exhibition games are "real" and "competitive" contests.
Just prior to the 2011-12 World Tour the Washington Generals underwent yet another name change. They began facing the Harlem Globetrotters as both the "International Elite" and the "Global Select", alternating between the two from game to game.
Washington Generals roster
Beating the Harlem Globetrotters
The Reds defeated the Globetrotters 100-99 on January 5, 1971 in Martin, Tennessee. It ended a 2,495-game winning streak. Klotz credits the overtime win to a guard named Eddie Mahar, who was team captain. Harlem's captain, Curly Neal, did not play in this game.
While the Globetrotters were entertaining the crowd that day, they lost track of the game and the score. They found themselves down 12 points with two minutes left to go. Forced to play normal basketball, the Globetrotters rallied but could not recover.
The Reds secured their victory when Klotz hit the winning basket with seconds left. Then Meadowlark Lemon missed a shot that would have given the game back to the Globetrotters. The timekeeper tried to stop the clock and couldn't. When the final buzzer sounded, the crowd was dumbfounded and disappointed. Klotz described the fans' reaction: "They looked at us like we killed Santa Claus."
Some children in the stands cried after the loss. The Reds celebrated by dousing themselves with orange soda instead of champagne. Lemon was furious, saying "You lost, I didn't lose," but still visited the opposing team’s locker room to congratulate the Reds.
- In the television show Suits episode "Bad Faith," during a friendly banter between Harvey Specter and Louis Litt to whom is the better attorney, Harvey says "And the Washington Generals think they can beat the Globetrotters, but they aren't even in the same league". Louis then mentions that his father used to play for the Washington Generals.
- In The Simpsons episode "Homie the Clown," Krusty bets all the money he earned franchising his name—ultimately 48 dollars—against the Globetrotters, telling his financial adviser, "I thought the Generals were due!" In another episode, entitled "Lisa the Tree Hugger," Homer refers to the Luftwaffe as "the Washington Generals of the History Channel."
- In the Futurama episode "Time Keeps On Slippin'," in a basketball game against the Harlem Globetrotters, Professor Farnsworth's Team of Atomic Supermen are dressed in Washington Generals colors. They do well at first and then lose inexplicably during a "time slip" during which one of the Atomic Supermen dies and Phillip J. Fry is substituted for him.
- On the September 28, 1991, Michael Jordan/Public Enemy episode of Saturday Night Live, there was a sketch entitled "The First Black Harlem Globetrotter." The Globetrotters were depicted as a white team, and in a dispute over Jordan's character joining the team, Mike Myers's character proclaims, "Let's quit, we can start our own team, we can call it...the Washington Generals."
- Various unflattering comparisons have been drawn between the poor play of the Washington Nationals baseball team and the Generals, most notably by Chris "Mad Dog" Russo. ESPN commenters did the same with DC's NBA franchise, the Washington Wizards.
- In the season five finale of How I Met Your Mother, Ted remarks to Robin, "Never ending battle? Career's been trouncing romance for years now. It's like the Globetrotters versus the Generals, career's sinking hookshots from half court, romance is just a bunch of slow white guys who couldn't make it in the Italian League." In the season nine episode nine "Platonish," Ted and Marshall attend a Globetrotters versus Generals game. Both wear Generals jerseys.
- In the Supernatural episode "Lucifer Rising," Dean says to Zachariah, with reference to all but one seal being broken, "That's an impressive score. That's... that's right up there with the Washington Generals."
- Charles Barkley often refers to the Washington Generals, confusing them with the professional team the Washington Wizards.
- The Official Site of the Harlem Globetrotters: FAQ Page
- The Official Site of the Harlem Globetrotters: FAQ Page
- The Last Time the Globetrotters Came Up Short, Newsday (New York) February 17, 1991.
- "Curly Neal says he's an athlete first.", Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, AR), January 7, 1990.
- "Showtime in NBA Can Be Traced to Trotters", Sporting News, March 12, 1990.
- "An Upset That Shook The Globe", Hartford Courant (Connecticut), March 19, 2000.
- Justin Terranova "'Mad Dog' Russo's On Air Blowup" New York Post: The Back Page 7/12/2009 http://blogs.nypost.com/sports/backpage/archives/2009/07/mad_dog_russos.html
- TNT crew compares Wizards to Generals, again