Originally created 03/07/03

Player admired Globetrotters when he was growing up



Harlem Globetrotters spokesman and player Eathan O'Bryant owes some of his basketball success to summertime and soap operas.

"My sisters dominated the house. Every day, they had to watch soap operas, so I finally picked up a basketball to keep from watching Days of Our Lives and Another World," said Mr. O'Bryant.

His fierce dislike of daytime dramas drove him out of the house away from his four sisters to shoot hoops during the hottest portion of those sultry Texas summer days. The practice paid off, as Mr. O'Bryant went on to be an All-Big West team member while at the University of Nevada.

After graduating in 1995, he briefly played with the Phoenix Suns and then with Inter Bratislava in the Slovak Republic before joining the Globetrotters.

The team performs its magical mix of sports and entertainment at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, 605 Seventh St.

Since 1927, the team has performed before more than 120 million people in 117 countries. Thursday, the Globetrotters will showcase new ball-handling routines before the game, and each child will have a chance to meet a Globetrotter in a 30-minute session after the game.

Tickets cost $13 to $41 and are available at the civic center box office and Ticketmaster locations. For tickets, call 724-2400 or purchase them online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Mr. O'Bryant is in his seventh season with the Globetrotters and serves as the team's advance ambassador, making appearances at schools, hospitals and charity events.

"I always admired the Globetrotters," said Mr. O'Bryant, who watched them on ABC's Wide World of Sports as a child.

He even tried imitating them, which got him in a little bit of trouble with his older brother. "I tried to be Geese Ausbie and threw a bucket of water at him," he said.

He decided then the "Clown Prince" role Mr. Ausbie held for years wasn't for him and thought maybe he was more of a Curly Neal type. Mr. Neal was known as one of the all-time greatest dribblers and had the ability to hit shots from half court and beyond.

For Mr. O'Bryant, some of the greatest benefits of being a Globetrotter have come off court. "I care for the youngsters," said Mr. O'Bryant, who made an appearance at C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School while in Augusta earlier in the week. "I want to be a positive influence."

HOOPS AND GOOFS

WHO: The Harlem Globetrotters

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, 605 Seventh St.

ADMISSION: $13 to $41, available at the civic center box office and Ticketmaster locations; call 724-2400 or purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com.