BANGOR — With all the hip-hop music blasting through the Bangor Auditorium speakers and the Harlem Globetrotters clowning around on the hardwood, the event was was more like a party than a basketball game.
And the Clown Princes of Basketball wouldn’t have it any other way as they entertained more than 1,700 fans in the Queen City Tuesday night.
One of the main attractions was Nate “Big Easy” Lofton, who is featured on this season of the hit reality show “The Amazing Race” along with teammate “Flight Time” Lang.
“We felt like we should’ve won the first time,” admitted Big Easy, who is on his second go-around on the CBS show.
The Globetrotters showcased their usual on-court antics, such as teasing the referees, mixing in tricks, stunts and high-flying dunks, joking around with themselves and fans and keeping the crowd on its feet throughout the two-hour show.
“We always seem to put on a pretty good show. No matter where we’re at, that’s what we do,” said William “Bull” Bullard, who wowed the audience with his high-flying slams.
The Globetrotters added a couple of new twists this year, including a “penalty box,” where one, two and even three Trotters were sent to give the Generals an advantage, and a four-point shot, which took effect in the final three minutes of each quarter.
“That’s something we innovated into the show this year, try to do something new to the game of basketball,” said Bullard.
The four-point marks were placed 35 feet away from the basket, or 12 feet beyond where the NBA 3-point line would be.
The rest of the Globetrotters’ ensemble included Zeus Stewart, “Crash” Orman, “Firefly” Fisher, “Hammer” Harrison and Scooter Christensen.
The events included a game, which was almost irrelevant to everything else occurring, tricks, fan contests, laughs, and team mascot Goldie paying tribute to Michael Jackson with a dance to “Billie Jean.” There were also plenty of smiles, including Big Easy giving a fan her own purse as a present, and even getting a couple of kisses from the lucky fan in exchange for his sweaty wristband.
“That’s always been a part of the Globetrotters,” said the 31-year-old Bullard, a Detroit native who played college ball at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Big Easy, who has also appeared on “The Price is Right,” “The Bonnie Hunt Show” and “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” was the victim of his own medicine when a Washington player pulled down his trunks, revealing some Elmo boxer shorts.
But the 6-foot-9 Big Easy had the last laugh.
“I had my Elmo drawers on today, but they were clean,” he said. “Mom said to always have clean underwear on.”
Earlier in the evening, he pulled the same trick on a Washington player who was shooting a free throw, and out came some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shorts.
“He had some dirty drawers on,” Big Easy said.
Traveling with the Globetrotters and participating in the Amazing Race has been interesting for Big Easy.
“I’ve been to 65 countries in six seasons. It was great to travel the world in the Amazing Race, but it’s different,” Big Easy said.
When the final buzzer sounded, hordes of children gathered courtside to collect autographs from the Globetrotters, and that part of the job is what Bullard enjoys most.
“You have to love kids, you have to love families, you have to love everybody pretty much,” he said.
Bullard also enjoys the laid-back atmosphere that Bangor provides.
“We look forward to that, not every place is going to be rah-rah as Chicago or Detroit or Dallas,” he said. “This is one of those subtle cities where we just love it.”
Oh, and in case anybody didn’t notice, the final score was Globetrotters 139, Washington 128.