Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

July 21, 2013

ELKHART COUNTY FAIR: Harlem Wizards wow fairgoers

Traveling hoop troupe finds itself challenged on Indiana swing.

GOSHEN — When you bring a basketball-related show to Indiana, it’s got to be all about the hoops.

That’s the lesson a pair of members of the Harlem Wizards traveling show basketball team have been learning this week as they make their way though the Hoosier State.

The Wizards, a 50-year-old organization based in New Jersey, spent three days at the Hendricks County Fair earlier this week before bringing their fun, fan-interactive show to the Elkhart County Fair on Friday.

The Wizards — represented on their Indiana swing by team members Kenny “Blenda” Rodriguez and T.J. “Tomohawk” Stukes — put on three shows on a hot day at the fairgrounds basketball courts.

Rodriguez, a former college basketball player, said he’s getting to live out a dream by getting paid to play basketball.

“When I was a kid, I used to go see the Harlem Globetrotters,” Rodriguez said as he and Stukes took a break between shows in the pair’s air-conditioned trailer near the basketball courts. “I said to myself, “That’s what I want to do. I want to play basketball and make people happy.”

Rodriguez has been a Wizard for about five years. It’s a year-round gig for the most part, with a slimmed-down summer schedule to allow for time off.

At the end of July, Rodriguez said, the team will head to China for a tour there.

It will be Rodriguez’s sixth trip to China, where he said they also take their basketball quite seriously.

“They give you a standing ovation at the end no matter what, out of politeness,” Rodriguez said.

For both players, the best part of their job is getting a positive reaction out of the audience — whether it’s a packed house at an NBA arena, or a few dozen hardy Hoosier hoop fans on a hot day at the Elkhart County Fair.

“It’s about smiles,” Stukes said. “Smiles are contagious.”

The Wizards strive to put on a different kind of show than the Globetrotters, Rodriguez said. “We try to do more interaction with the audience, get them more involved,” Rodriguez said.

That, he said, can  mean taking on a local high school team, or a squad composed of local firefighters or police officers.

The Wizards play an average of 150 games a year. They also visit youth basketball camps.   

And when you play in Indiana, both players said, that means you’ve got to show your basketball bona fides right from the opening tip.

“The tricks and things we do usually come later,” Rodriguez said.

Stukes, who played at Southeast Missouri State, said he and his partner have to be on top of their game when they come to Indiana. “We’re really tested as basketball players here. And we think of ourselves as basketball players first, and entertainers second.”

For more information on the Wizards, visit their website at www.harlemwizards.com.



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • GN140418 bulls-gibson Improved Gibson proves key for Bulls' success DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Taj Gibson flashed back to the grueling workouts in the searing Southern California heat last summer. There he was with Derrick Rose, running and jumping and trying to take his game to another level for the Chicago Bulls while thei

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140418 base nr-wv kennedy PREP BASEBALL: A pitcher's duel EMMA -- The pitchers were dominant early on until the offenses could getting things going in a high school baseball game between the Northridge Raiders and the Westview Warriors Friday night at Westview. Both starting pitchers hurled four innings of

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Thunder Pacers Basketball [Duplicate] NBA: Pacers switch into playoff mode against Hawks INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers believe things have changed. Instead of chasing the top seed in the Eastern Conference, all they have to do is protect their home court. Instead of pressing, they've been joking around. And instead of trying debating what w

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Paul George making big play for endorsement deals

    Paul George already has a winning resume

    April 19, 2014

  • GN140418 bulls playoff push NBA: Bulls ready to start playoff push against Wizards CHICAGO -- Lose a franchise player, trade away another star. Snag home-court advantage for at least one round in the playoffs? It's not the way the Chicago Bulls mapped it out at the start of the season. But here they are, holding the fourth seed and

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140418 ghs wawa nr btrk 01 PREP BOYS TRACK AND FIELD: Warriors triumph GOSHEN -- The Wawasee Warriors showcased a couple of very talented athletes in an NLC meet with the Goshen Redskins and the Northridge Raiders Thursday night at Foreman Field. Juniors Clayton Cook and JJ Gilmer were involved in six first places finis

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140418 bglf goshen hartsough PREP BOYS GOLF: Goshen easily downs Central in 2014 opener ELKHART -- Sometimes, the third time really is the charm. After the first two scheduled meets of the season were postponed due to inclement weather earlier this week, the Goshen High School boys golf team was finally able to start the 2014 season Th

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • TGN Sports Roundtable, Ep. 26

    April 17, 2014

  • Pacers Magic Basketball -3 [Duplicate] NBA: Pacers rest 3 starters, cruise past Magic ORLANDO, Fla. -- Rasual Butler and Chris Copeland each scored 19 points as the Indiana Pacers rested their key players and cruised to a 101-86 victory over the Orlando Magic in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Eastern Conference's top se

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Poll

Goshen City Council member Dixie Robinson is asking residents to make an effort to clean up their yards this spring. The city’s Dial-A-Truck program is available to haul trash away. Do you think there are more unsightly properties in Goshen this year than five years ago?

Yes. I have noticed more problem properties
No. I have not noticed more problems
I think the problems are about the same as always
     View Results