Tuesday, September 12, 2006
From Gilligan's Island to Frozen's feature
Harlem Globetrotter legend Gator Rivers is featured among the many basketball in the new Frozen pictures documentary, Basketball Man.
Known as “The Greatest Ball-Handler in the World," Gator demonstrates his amazing basketball skills and gets to the heart of the game in a special segment on the impact of its rules.
Gator starred with the Globetrotters from 1973 to 1986, travelling the world and wowing crowds as the team's premier dribbler. He met Presidents and kings— and also landed him in television history, when he starred in the landmark television movie, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.
Since leaving the Globetrotters, Gator has formed a youth foundation called the Gatorball Academy where he teaches his skills and talents to kids.
He starred in the 2003 movie, Trick Dribble, hosts motivational clinics and is in great demand as a speaker, often appearing at schools and other youth organizations to talk about the importance of setting goals, staying in school and avoiding drugs.
In recent months, Gator's reputation has spread through the Internet as the showy star of the Basketball Man online trailer. While he speaks eloquently about the life and legacy of Dr. James Naismith in Basketball Man, he reflects here on his own legendary, influential life:
“Basketball entered my life on my seventh birthday. My mom took me to the Star Theater in Savannah, Georgia to see the Harlem Globetrotters in Go Man, Go! It starred Marcus Haynes and Goose Tatum. I saw Marcus dribble the basketball, and I was hooked. Left the movie. My mom bought me a little basketball about yea big and I went home pounding that thing.
“And next day I went to school and went straight to the library because I wanted to know more about the Harlem Globetrotters and basketball. Checked out a little book entitled How to Play Basketball. And in that book I saw that the greatest sporting team in the history of basketball was the Harlem Globetrotters. I also learned that a guy by the name of James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts invented the game of basketball at a YMCA. He was a physical ed teacher. And I also found he was a clergyman. I was really impressed with the things that he imparted to basketball.”