Globetrotter Mo? Hoops troupe 'drafts' closer
NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera does not have much of a jump shot to speak of, which is why the Yankees closer was amused -- and a bit perplexed -- to be informed he had been "drafted" by the Harlem Globetrotters on Tuesday.
For the seventh straight year, the famous traveling basketball troupe invited athletes from the world of sports to join the Globetrotters as honorary members.
Rivera said that he played some basketball while growing up in Panama, but soccer and baseball were well ahead on his list of favorite sports.
"I just got the ball and tried to get it in that basket," Rivera said. "I was just having fun. It wasn't a game that I was crazy about. I like to watch it; I do love to watch it, especially the [NBA] playoffs. But that's all I know about basketball."
The Globetrotters apparently believe that since Rivera has shut down Major League hitters for nearly two decades, he can probably handle the Washington Generals on the hardwood.
"In the fourth quarter, when the Globetrotters need to close out a game, who better than the best closer of all-time? Mariano Rivera has made a living by finishing off opponents," Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said in a statement. "We always have a place on our roster for winning athletes with that kind of mindset. His charitable work through the Mariano Rivera Foundation also embodies the spirit of the Globetrotters giving back to the community."
Rivera, Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader, was drafted along with the WNBA's Brittney Griner, college slam dunk champion Doug Anderson from the University of Detroit Mercy, Division II All-America selection Tyrone Davis from Northwood University (Fla.) and High Point University's Corey Law.
In 2008, Rivera visited with the Globetrotters and had the opportunity to meet with Kevin "Special K" Daley, a fellow native of Panama, and even donned a jersey for a photo opportunity. Rivera said that he was impressed by the team's theatrics.
"I didn't know that those things exist," Rivera said. "They play good basketball there."