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Finally, Pope Francis Has Joined the Harlem Globetrotters

The Pontiff joins Henry Kissinger and Scooby Doo on the list of the team’s most interesting team ups.

Screenshot from Reuters youtube video channel

Yesterday, our tree-hugging, pizza-loving, drone-having Pope added another notch to his blessed belt when he joined legendary clown princes of basketball, the Harlem Globetrotters, as an honorary member of the team. According to the Washington Post, the Globetrotters met Il Papa while playing in Italy, making a special appearance during the Pontiff’s general audience at St. Peter’s Square. Francis is only the ninth honorary Globetrotter in history, but not the first pope to receive the honor—John Paul II became an honorary member in 2000. Globetrotters “Hi-Lite” Bruton, “Ant” Atkinson, “Big Easy” Lofton and “Flight Time” Lang showed off their skills, helping the Pope spin a basketball on his finger and presenting him with a team jersey with the number 90. From the Post:

“We are very humbled by the opportunity to bestow this honor upon Pope Francis,” Globetrotters president Kurt Schneider said in a statement. “His tireless work for the well-being of the poor and elderly, his humanitarian efforts and his commitment to bridge gaps between people of various cultures are ways the Harlem Globetrotters also aspire to touch lives around the world. He embodies the Globetrotters’ efforts to provide service, smiles and sportsmanship globally.”

The meeting comes in anticipation of the team’s 90th anniversary tour, celebrating nearly a century of “basketball wizardry,” history-making accomplishments, and amazing antics. And while the thought of the head of the Catholic Church spinning a ball with members of an American sporting institution might seem a little odd, this is far from the team’s weirdest team-up—in the past, the Globetrotters have fought off ghosts with cartoon dog Scooby Doo and even spent 1981 stranded on Gilligan’s Island.

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