Hallie Bryant To Enter Harlem Globetrotters' Legends Ring
Jan. 13, 2009
PHOENIX - Former Harlem Globetrotters standout and Indiana basketball star Hallie Bryant, who helped lead the Indiana Hoosiers to the Big Ten Conference title in 1957, will be honored by the Globetrotters with the team's "Legends" award on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - Monday, Jan. 19 - when the "Ambassadors of Goodwill"TM play at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at 2:00 p.m. Bryant will be just the 28th person in the Globetrotters' storied 83-year history to receive the distinction.
Interestingly, Bryant was offered the "Legends" honor in 1998, but he selflessly asked that it instead be bestowed upon his Globetrotter teammate, and childhood friend, Willie Gardner, who was suffering from diabetes at the time. Gardner, who played three seasons with the Globetrotters and had signed a contract with the New York Knicks before a heart condition forced him to retire, passed away in 2000.
"I guess now is the right time for me," Bryant says about the "Legends" honor that will be given to him during a special half-time ceremony on Jan 19. "When I was approached back in 1998, I knew that Willie was in poor health, and I thought it would be more appropriate to pay homage to a man who had been like a brother to me, so I respectfully asked the team to give the honor to Willie."
A life-long resident of Indiana, Bryant graduated from historical Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, was Indiana's "Mr. Basketball" in 1953, was a three-year letter winner at Indiana University, and is a member of the state of Indiana and IU Basketball Halls of Fame. Following a two-year stretch as a commissioned officer of the U.S. Army, Bryant joined the Globetrotters for what would be a 27-year career. Bryant visited more than 87 countries in 13 years as a player, and then continued his relationship with the organization as an official spokesperson and director of team personnel.
"It is with great pride that we honor Hallie Bryant with our `Legends' ring," said Globetrotters' CEO Kurt Schneider. "He continues to live his life in the true spirit of a Harlem Globetrotter, always thinking of others and giving back to the community every chance he gets. Globetrotter icons Curly Neal and Tex Harrison highly recommended Hallie for this honor, and there is no better endorsement than that."
Created in 1993, the "Legends" ring is presented to those who have made a contribution outside of basketball and played a role in the development of the Globetrotters brand. A special advisory board and the alumni select the honorees.
Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, IHOP, Spalding, and America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, the Harlem Globetrotters are in their 83rd consecutive season of touring the world. The Globetrotters have played in 120 countries on six continents, entertaining over 128 million fans. For the latest news and tour information, visit the team's official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.
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