H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Saperstein had coached
many local basketball
teams in Chicago, including the Giles Post
American Legion Quintet, an African- American
semi-pro team, and the Savoy Big Five, which
played at the famous Savoy Ballroom. When the
Big Five lost its sponsorship, Saperstein renamed
them the Globetrotters and took the team on the road.
Saperstein lived at
3828 North Hermitage Avenue when the
Globetrotters debuted on January 7, 1927 in Hinckley, Illinois, before a
of 300. Inman Jackson, Lester Johnson and Walter Wright formed the nucleus
of the first Globetrotters, who won 101 of 117 games in their first season.
The Globetrotters played
regular, competitive basketball until 1929, when,
fearing that fans would tire of their predictable victories, they began
on the court for pure entertainment.
Saperstein guided and
promoted the all-black team for 39 years, providing
opportunities for black players who were excluded by professional leagues.
the time of his death in 1966, the Globetrotters had played in 87 countries.