Delighted Sheffield shoppers took a well-earned break from their Christmas shopping to watch a pair of basketball wizards in action.
Dizzy Grant and Handles Franklin, stars of the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters Basketball Team, were in the city for one day only and called into Meadowhall Shopping Centre to show off some of their legendary moves.
Shoppers were able to get in on the action, picking up some ball tips from the duo before trying out the Globetrotters’ signature ‘finger-spin’ for the cameras.
Julie Smart, aged 49, of Northallerton in North Yorkshire, who was in Sheffield to do some Christmas shopping with her family, said: “I’ve seen the Globetrotters on TV and couldn’t believe it when I saw them here today.
“I had my picture taken with them both and even had a go at spinning the ball on my finger like they do. It’s much harder than it looks.”
Elizabeth Gunnill and her grandaughter Amy Webster, aged 2, were also in the crowd: “Amy has been up there doing some tricks with them,” said Elizabeth, 70, of Foxhill.
“My grandson is a big fan so he’s going to be very jealous of his little sister.”
Another shopper was Anne Merton, of Wakefield.
Anne, 58, said: “I’m such a big fans of the Globetrotters, it’s been so exciting to see the players here today, really brilliant.”
Dizzy, who holds the sport’s record distinction of scoring a 4-point shot, told The Star: “We have great fans here in Sheffield and we absolutely love coming back and getting to entertain people and have some fun.
“The good people of this city always give us a great reception and we just love it here. I’ve been back a few times in my eight year career and always get excited when I see Sheffield on the schedule.”
Handles, who stars in a number of television adverts in the US, said: ”Sheffield folk really love basketball and we’ve been having a great time here spreading some Christmas cheer by performing some of our best tricks for the folks at Meadowhall.
“I’m so honoured to be a part of a tradition that’s been around for 88 years.
“I’ve visited 71 countries around the globe in my basketball career but England is right at the top for me. The people are so friendly and Sheffield itself is just fantastic.”
Alex Caley, events manager at Meadowhall said: “We loved having the Globettrotters for the day, after they’d flown in from the States especially to showcase their skills for us.
“This is something really different for Meadowhall and it was lovely to see them interacting with our customers - who just loved them - and spreading Christmas cheer.”
The Globetrotters will be back in the city next year, on April 7, kicking off the UK leg of their ‘Fans Rule’ world tour at the Motorpoint Arena.
The team was the first organisation in sport and entertainment to let fans vote on rules when the concept was intoduced last year.
Visit motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk for information and tickets.