Harlem Globetrotters Announce Historic Signing of First-Ever Puerto Rican Player

Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:49pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Orlando "El Gato" Melendez Will Join Trotters When They Convene
  for New York Training Camp Sept. 29, Culminating with Second Annual
                Performance for Harlem Youth on Oct. 8
PHOENIX--(Business Wire)--
The World Famous Harlem Globetrotters have signed the first Puerto
Rican-born player in the team's storied history, inking 6-8 dunking
sensation Orlando "El Gato" Melendez. El Gato, a native of Ponce,
Puerto Rico, and a former North Carolina Tar Heel, will join four
other Globetrotter rookies as the team opens training camp in New York
on Monday, Sept. 29.

   El Gato joins fellow rookie Trevor "Tiny" Lawrence - born in
Jamaica - as part of a group of only 18 players to be born outside of
the 50 United States among the Globetrotters' 650-plus alumni. The
seven-foot Lawrence, who grew up in Las Vegas, played his college ball
at New Mexico State.

   The other rookies joining "the world's most famous team" for
training camp in New York are:

   --  William "Bull" Bullard from Detroit, who was selected in the
        Globetrotters' second annual player draft in 2008 out of Texas
        A&M-Corpus Christi and finished second in the 2008 College
        Slam Dunk Championship at the Final Four in San Antonio.

   --  Shagari "Skyscraper" Alleyne, a 7-4 center hailing from the
        Bronx, a former Kentucky Wildcat who spent time in the
        Philadelphia 76ers' training camp last season.

   --  High-flying guard Ron "'Copter" Christy from Stratford, Conn.,
        and Teikyo Post University.

   These rookie stalwarts will join Globetrotter stars Special K
Daley, Scooter Christensen, Flight Time Lang and Wildkat Edgerson, as
well as new fan favorites such as Ant Atkinson - last year's top
overall draft pick - Handles Franklin, Blenda Rodriguez and many
others, as the Globetrotters prepare for their 83rd consecutive season
of touring the world.

   The Globetrotters' training camp will culminate with a return to
the neighborhood that inspired their name on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at
10:30 a.m. EDT. For the second straight year, the team will showcase
their spectacular brand of fun, family entertainment for thousands of
smiling Harlem school children during a private performance against
the Washington Generals at the 369th Harlem Armory. Presented in
cooperation with the NYC Police Athletic League, the Globetrotters
will debut the exciting new show for their upcoming 2009 World Tour.

   "Last year's show at the 369th Harlem Armory was an overwhelming
success," said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. "The Armory and
Police Athletic League were such gracious hosts and the kids had so
much fun, we've been eager to come back. Last year's event was the
springboard to a phenomenal record-breaking tour that re-energized the
organization and returned the Globetrotters to iconic pop culture

   Although this is the second straight year the Globetrotters will
perform in Harlem, it is only the fourth time in history that the team
has played in the Manhattan neighborhood. The first was in 1968, the
second in 1987.

   Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, the Harlem Globetrotters have
played in 119 countries on six continents, entertaining over 128
million fans and crossing barriers between cultures, societies and
people from all walks of life. The Globetrotters are one of only six
teams to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of
Fame. For the latest news and information about the Harlem
Globetrotters, and to purchase team merchandise, visit the team's
official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.

Harlem Globetrotters, Phoenix
Brett Meister, 602-258-0000, ext. 104

Copyright Business Wire 2008