(ATLANTA) – The Harlem Globetrotters will honor two of its most famous players during the upcoming 2017 world tour, by retiring the numbers of both Geese Ausbie and Tex Harrison. Ausbie’s No. 35 jersey will be retired during the 7 p.m. show at Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Ark., on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Harrison’s No. 34 jersey and Ausbie’s No. 35 jersey will both be retired in separate ceremonies in each player’s hometown during the first month of the tour, the Globetrotters 91st consecutive season. They will be the sixth and seventh numbers retired by the Globetrotters in the team’s history and the first since Curly Neal’s No. 22 at a ceremony at Madison Square Garden in 2008.
“Tex and Geese both richly deserve this tremendous honor,” said Globetrotters President Howard Smith. “There’s no doubt both were an integral part of making the Globetrotters a worldwide phenomenon, bringing joy, laughter and athletic exploits to millions of fans in every corner of the world. To have these legendary players join the exclusive fraternity of numbers is a tribute to their mark on history and their dedication to the team.”
Charles “Tex” Harrison, who died in 2014, was a staple for the Globetrotters for almost 20 years – from 1954 to 1972 – as a player, before becoming a coach and team advisor. Overall, he spent 60 years with the organization. Harrison once remarked that, aside from his family, the greatest highlight of his life was being a Harlem Globetrotter. A longtime resident of Houston, Harrison’s No. 34 will be retired during the Globetrotters stop in the city to tip-off the tour at the NRG Arena, on Monday, Dec. 26 (at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.).
“Dad treasured being a Harlem Globetrotter. It was more than a career, it was a coveted honor with meaningful purpose,” said the Harrison family. “Joining the Globetrotters in 1954, he saw and experienced the world evolve, yet nothing deterred his commitment to using his innate basketball talent and humorous personality to share joy across the world. He never failed to leave a locker room, a game, or an entire country without making a positive, lasting impact. We are honored and humbled his legacy will forever remain part of the Globetrotter family and basketball history.”
Hubert “Geese” Ausbie dazzled audiences for his 24 years in a Globetrotters uniform, taking over the “Clown Prince of Basketball” mantle bestowed upon the great Meadowlark Lemon. In 1995, Ausbie became a coach of his beloved team, while continuing to devote his life away from the court to youth and drug-free initiatives in his home state of Arkansas.
“This is truly an honor,” Ausbie said. “I am a lucky man, getting to do what I loved for so many years, all over the world. Seeing the smiles and laughter from each person who came out to see us, is something that I’ll never forget. To be recognized with this is a humbling gesture which leaves me speechless.”
Currently, Harrison’s No. 34 is worn by Globetrotter star “Thunder” Law, who will continue to wear the number for the duration of the 2017 season as a tribute. During the tour, Law will be asking fans to participate in a campaign to select a new number for the following season.
With Harrison and Ausbie’s numbers being retired, the Globetrotters have officially retired the jerseys of seven players: Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13), Marques Haynes (No. 20), Curly Neal (No. 22), Meadowlark Lemon (No. 36), and Goose Tatum (No. 50). The No. 3 jersey of Red Klotz – the founder, owner and former player for the Globetrotters’ longtime rivals, the Washington Generals, was also retired by the team.
The Globetrotters will tip off their 2017 World Tour on Dec. 26 and will play in over 250 North American markets as well as 30 countries worldwide. Tickets are now available at harlemglobetrotters.com.
The Harlem Globetrotters® are legendary worldwide, synonymous with one-of-a-kind family entertainment and great basketball skills for the past 90 years. Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 122 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 – among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents – over nine thrilling decades. Sponsored by Baden Sports, Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, visit the Globetrotters’ official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com and follow them on Twitter @Globies.