Former Harlem Globetrotters Michael Douglas and Larry “Shorty” Coleman motivated kids at Pine Trail Elementary Friday.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
It was a chance encounter on Super Bowl Sunday that brought two former Harlem Globetrotters to Pine Trail Elementary Friday.
Principal Susan Persis was at Vince Carter’s restaurant when she met Michael Douglas and Larry “Shorty” Coleman, who were in town to perform at Mainland High School for a Feb. 9 fundraiser for the Ormond Beach Middle School Chorus.
Douglas and Coleman were both members of the Harlem Globetrotters and are now members of the Harlem Legends, the group Douglas founded, which travels the county putting on educational shows for children.
Persis asked the pair if they would stop by her school before leaving town, and she says they jumped at the chance.
“This is my passion, right here, giving back to the kids,” Douglas said. “And this is what we love to do, to help these kids. We try to put on an educational and entertaining program for them at the same time.”
While he and Coleman were at Pine Trail, they showed off their ball-handling skills, quizzed students and signed autographs.
Some students, like third-grader LeLoni Williams and fourth-grader Kory Driver, were given the chance to join Douglas and Coleman in some of the drills.
Others, like fifth-grader Zamari Davis and fourth-grader Adam Driver, played in a five-on-five shooting competition, with the losing team doing five push-ups.
But there was a time when Douglas and Coleman didn’t perform for middle school-age kids at schools, but rather thousands of fans across the world.
In his 26 years with the Harlem Globetrotters, Douglas said he played more than 3,500 games in more than 100 countries. And out of all those games, he said he’ll always remember the one in La Paz, Bolivia.
“The promoter oversold the show,” Douglas said. “The arena seated like 15,000, and there were like 70,000 people trying to get in."
The Bolivian army, he added, had to come in to regulate.
“And when I finally got into the arena, I felt like Michael Jackson. Those people were so thrilled to see us after sitting there for so many hours. That was one of the most memorable games I had.”