You can all Sweet Lou Dunbar a giant among men, but mostly the famous Harlem Globetrotter players just call him coach.
The team comes to the Tri-Cities for an exhibition game Feb. 25 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Standing at a lofty 6-foot-10, Sweet Lou isn't even the tallest Globetrotter. That honor goes to player Tiny Sturgess, who towers at 7-foot-8, which surpasses former Houston Rockets superstar Yao Ming.
Dunbar is one of the most revered players in Globetrotter history, according to the team's publicist Amy Gentry. And there's good reason he's called Sweet Lou, because his manner is easy and fun, and he's as humble as they come, giving more praise to the men he played with through the years.
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"I still feel so honored that I was fortunate enough to play this game with such iconic figures as (George) Meadowlark Lemon and (Fred) Curly Neal," Dunbar said. "They were my heroes growing up, and then when I got to actually play ball with them, well, how cool was that?"
Dunbar played with the Globetrotters for 24 years, starting in 1977. He's had a number of duties with the team after he retired from playing, and took over as coach about six years ago. And the team is always coming up with new tactics they hope the audience will love.
"I don't think our audiences know when we mess up a new play during a game, at least I hope they don't," he said with a soft, low chuckle. "Some of it works and sometimes it doesn't. The good part is we always have fun, and that's what it's all about."
The Globetrotters are renowned the world over as the coolest ambassadors of goodwill on the planet. And rightly so, because the team is as devoted to community outreach programs as they are passionate about playing basketball.
The team's latest program is titled The ABCs of Bullying Prevention, which they take seriously by sending a team member a few days early to visit schools in the cities where they are scheduled to perform.
The program was fashioned after the National Campaign to Stop Violence, which keeps its focus on those important ABCs of life -- action, bravery and compassion.
This year, Cheese Chisholm was the player who visited the Tri-Cities. At 6-foot-2, Chisholm is one of the smaller Globetrotters whose court-side savvy also includes spinning the basketball on the tip of his finger.
The Harlem Globetrotters first got together in 1926 and called themselves the Savoy Big Five. The team's website -- www.harlemglobetrotters.com -- has a complete timeline of how the Big Five became the world renowned Globetrotters, who have entertained kings, queens, popes, world leaders and millions of fans for more than 85 years.
Tickets to the exhibition, which starts at 7 p.m. Feb. 25, are from $15 to $101 and available at www.ticketmaster.com or the Toyota Center box office. The $101 tickets is a magic pass that includes court side seats, a meet and greet with the team and playing a little basketball with the players.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal