Harlem Globetrotters

The Harlem Wizards entertained hundreds of children at Coppin State University when they faced the ‘B-More AllStars. (Photo by Chanet Wallace)

On June 11, the celebrated Harlem Wizards came to Coppin State University to amuse hundreds from around the Baltimore community with their wizardry, consisting of an elaborate display of ball-handling, high-flying alley-oops, extraordinary dunks and thrilling interaction with the crowd.

The Wizards, whose style of play and entertainment antics are reminiscent of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, are in their 54th year of providing world-class entertainment to diverse crowds internationally.

This time around the Wizards faced the “B-more All-Stars,” a team made up of faculty and staff area elementary and middle schools.

In addition, there were 18 sponsors for the event including the AFRO. At halftime a free-throw shooting contest for the children in attendance was held. The contestants had to knock down three free throws to win a Harlem Wizards branded basketball.

The proceeds from ticket sales went to various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs from participating schools.

Arthur Lewis – known as “King Arthur” – is one of the premier Wizards and a Baltimore native. He excelled in basketball at Milford Mill Academy, Catonsville Community College and Bowie State University, where he was named an Academic All-American.

“It’s priceless,” Lewis said of being back home.

Lewis – who specializes in “dribbling, tricks and energy” – is in his seventh season with the Wizards.

David Paul, known as “DP,” is the captain of the Wizards and is in his 13th year with the team.

“We come right here to put on smiles and make a difference out here, and If everybody could just take the time and enjoy the product we put out there, they’ll have a better chance of just letting go of the small things and understanding that ‘life is short’,” Paul, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native, said.

Roger Lyons, one of the B-more All-Stars, teaches sixth grade language arts and social studies at Harlem Park Elementary and Middle School.

“It was fun. It was really fun to see the children smile see the children really get into it. Really it’s about them having fun, so I just enjoyed every minute of it,” Lyons said.

Mel Butler, the director of institutional advancement for the nonprofit ACE (Alliance for Career and Education), was the coordinator of the event. According to Butler, the Wizards coming to Baltimore is more than entertainment and raising money for disadvantaged children.

“What’s going to come out of it (Wizards versus B-more All-Stars game and festivities) is a more disciplined youngster with a better attitude, a positive attitude and some self-esteem,” Butler said of the second annual event.

“So what we expect is to have better students, better citizens, more leaders, more jobs,” he said.