Sports stars are often accused of taking themselves too seriously, losing sight of the entire reason they fell in love with their respective games in the first place.
As they chase glory and the chance to be afforded wealth beyond most of our wildest dreams, the win-at-all-costs mentality is spreading like an epidemic through sport as the enjoyment factor ebbs away.
Thankfully for us fans, there remain certain characters whose enthusiasm for sport is infectious, their motivation not an inflated bank balance, but a desire to be loved and respected for what they do best.
Take the Harlem Globetrotters, for instance. This group of wildly talented basketball players is the antithesis of the modern, machine-like sports star. Some nine decades after they first started captivating audiences, their ethos has remained much the same – entertainment comes first, victory is secondary (although they did take their winning streak to 4,000 games this summer).
The UAE’s basketball fans are in for a huge treat, then, as the Trotters are heading back to Dubai on Friday October 28 for a one-off game as part of their 90th birthday celebrations. Star names such as Ace Jackson, Ant Atkinson, Cheese Chisholm and Hi-Lite Bruton are among those pencilled in to play at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.
For Chisholm, who with Atkinson holds the Guinness World Record for the most three-pointers scored by a pair in one minute (19 to be precise), 2016 has proved a celebration of the wealth of talent that has worn the famous striped shorts through the decades.
“This has been a big year,” he told Parade magazine recently. “We’re really just trying to say thank you to all the Globetrotters who came before us, and remembering all the things that the team did over the years, like beating the Lakers twice in a row and being NBA champions. It’s the history that really makes us who we are, but it’s the future that’s going to keep everything going.”
Arguably one of the most entertaining sporting shows on Earth, expect to see some outlandish displays of b-ball skill as the Trotters come to town.