As I write this, Brother Bones's whistled version of the song "Sweet Georgia Brown" keeps playing over and over in my mind - and I even find myself typing in sync with the happy, delightful cadence of the catchy tune.
It's one of those rare songs that immediately conjures up an image - at least for this reporter. Every time I hear it -- which is seldom, if ever, these days - I envision a tight circle of black basketball players at midcourt performing feats of magic with a simple orange spheroid. They laugh continually and are obviously enjoying themselves as the ball dances on air. The men pass it back and forth to each other in ways that seem to defy gravity.
It's as if the basketball is connected to them by an invisible string only they can control. This trademark routine of the famous Harlem Globetrotters is funny, impressive and never fails to draw oohs and aahs from the audience. I sure don't get tired of seeing it ... doubt I ever will.
The Globetrotters came to mind the other day while I was having a discussion with a few friends about the profound effect the legendary Jackie Robinson, the all-black Texas Western basketball team of 1966 and many, many others had on breaking down the stereotypes and hatred of racism.
As we all know, Robinson was the first African American to play Major League baseball in the modern era. Jackie stepped onto the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and went on to establish a Hall of Fame career.
Along the way, he encountered and endured racism in all its ugly forms. A lesser man would have cracked, but not Jackie Robinson. Through it all, he remained above the fray - a true class act. As a result, he earned the respect of nearly every American, both then and now, and is revered to this day for his immense role in showing all of us that a good person is a good person - no matter his or her color.
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