By Alexandra Richardson, Staff Writer
Union is not known for its professional basketball talent, but one of the more famous teams of basketball picked up one of Union’s past basketball talents.
Stanley McNeil, a Memphis native and 2011 Union graduate, is now one of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters.
McNeil will play as a 4-point shooter, a player who will shoot from a designated spot 35 feet from the basket to score 4 points for his team.
McNeil, who played basketball for two years at Union University under head coach David Niven, is Union’s first graduate to become a Globetrotter.
“He was great—one of my favorite players of all time,” Niven said. “He put his own individual game aside always for whatever we needed for our team.”
The Globetrotters play basketball all over the world in sometimes full arenas, so the talent, abilities and attitudes of the players are expected to be top-notch.
The Globetrotters are known for providing a humor-filled, family-friendly event, and the excitement the players generate helps them put on a great show.
McNeil is no stranger to hard work.
“He is the kind of player that every day had a goal,” Niven said. “He was going to get in the gym and shoot every day before practice, and he would try to make 100 3-pointers. The best he ever did was make 100 out of 113 threes. He’s super consistent and did it day-in and day-out.”
Members of the team also must excel in teamwork to make the show enjoyable for their fans. McNiel did it with ease.
“He is unselfish, humble and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached,” Niven said.
Last, a sense of humor must be present because the Globetrotters also play to put a smile on people’s faces.
“You have to have a certain skill and talent level as well as the ability to communicate with people and kids while you are playing,” Niven said. “He, obviously, has skills, and he is athletic enough to be exciting to watch. But he also loves people and kids and that shows, which makes him someone that the Globetrotters can be proud to have.”