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January 04, 2011 at 08:00 AM EST
Harlem Globetrotters to Retire Jersey Honoring Legendary Washington Generals Owner Red Klotz

Louis “Red” Klotz – the iconic mastermind behind the Washington Generals, and a key figure as a player, coach and owner over nearly six decades of competition with the world famous Harlem Globetrotters – will become the first non-Globetrotter to have a jersey retired by the team when the Globetrotters honor Klotz in his native Philadelphia this March. The ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 13, when the Globetrotters face the Generals in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center.

Klotz will become only the sixth person in the Globetrotters’ 85-year history to receive this distinction, joining Curly Neal (No. 22), Goose Tatum (No. 50), Marques Haynes (No. 20), Meadowlark Lemon (No. 36), and Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13) as the only individuals ever so honored by the team. The Globetrotters will retire Klotz’s number three jersey, which he wore as a player for parts of four decades with the Generals as well as during his standout collegiate and high school career in Philadelphia.

The announcement comes one day before the 40th anniversary (January 5, 1971) of the last Generals win over the Globetrotters, thanks to a last-second basket by Klotz—then the Generals’ 50-year-old player/coach—that lifted the Generals to a 100-99 win over the Globetrotters in Martin, Tenn.

“Red Klotz’s contributions to the game of basketball are unparalleled; he is truly a global symbol of the positive impact of the sport,” said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. “Though he is officially a General, Red Klotz is an integral part of the Globetrotters legacy, and has played a major role in helping us bring smiles and entertainment to fans throughout the world for decades.”

For the past 59 years, Klotz has put together a team to face the Globetrotters for more than 400 games a year, including (in addition to the Generals) the Boston Shamrocks, New Jersey Reds and New York Nationals. The working relationship with the Globetrotters was initiated in 1952, when Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein offered Klotz the opportunity to form a team to play the Globetrotters on a regular basis.

Before creating the Generals, Klotz was a standout player at the professional, collegiate and high school level in his native Philadelphia. He won two city titles and two Philadelphia Player of the Year awards at South Philadelphia High School before playing collegiately at Villanova; afterward, he played professionally for the Philadelphia SPHAS of the American Basketball League before joining the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets midway through the 1947-48 season, a season in which Klotz and the Bullets went on to defeat the Philadelphia Warriors to win the NBA title.

The 90-years-young Klotz is probably best known, however, for losing more than 14,000 games with his Generals teams over the past six decades. He has lost games in front of popes, kings and queens; on aircraft carriers, in bullrings, and on soccer fields; and in over 100 countries around the world.

“It’s been a wonderful run,” said Klotz. “I played around the world wearing that number three for many years, and it is very special to have the jersey retired.”

Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, Howard Johnson Hotels, America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, Greyhound Lines, Spalding, and Russell Athletic, the Original Harlem Globetrotters continue a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages. Throughout their history, the Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 120 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans over more than eight thrilling decades. To purchase tickets and team merchandise, visit the Globetrotters’ official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.

Contacts:

Harlem Globetrotters
Brett Meister, 602-258-0000, ext. 104
VP of Communications
meister@harlemglobetrotters.com
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