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Harlem Globetrotters's TNT went to Mesa Ridge High School

March 27, 2014 Updated: March 27, 2014 at 9:01 am
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photo - The Harlem Globetrotters will perform at the World Arena Friday.
The Harlem Globetrotters will perform at the World Arena Friday. 

7 p.m. Friday, World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., $19-$121; 576-2626, ticketswest.com

A local woman broke a Harlem Globetrotters streak that spanned nearly two decades.

Fatima Maddox, who also answers to the nickname TNT ("They felt like I was an explosive player," she says), is a 2003 Mesa Ridge High School graduate who joined the Globetrotters in 2011. She's the ninth woman to play for the famed exhibition team and the first to play with the guys since 1993. They'll combine their athleticism with theater and comedy Friday at World Arena.

Maddox was admittedly naive about the offer.

"I didn't know what a big deal it was," the guard says. "To choose me, it was definitely an honor. They felt like my skills, as well as who I am as a person, stood in really well with what they're about."

The 5-foot-6 Maddox graduated from Temple University in 2007 and played two years of professional basketball overseas before being scouted by the Globetrotters.

The team has played for 88 consecutive seasons, Maddox says, and part of its mission is to entertain families with fancy basketball tricks. But the other part goes deeper. A big chunk of the job is heading out into communities around the country. Maddox often goes into schools to discuss their anti-bullying programs.

"I've always wanted to be a professional basketball player," the guard says, "but I feel like with the Globetrotters, it was about so much more than basketball. They do so much more off the court, like talk to kids about bullying and go to hospitals, and they do a lot in the community. I've been passionate about that for a long time."

Being the only woman on the team comes with a certain level of responsibility, she says.

"I try to be myself and stay positive, and when I get a chance to talk to kids, I try to give them something to help them through their lives."

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Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette, 636-0270, jen.mulson@gazette.com

Other events

"Face 2 Face" - By Ballet Magnificat!, 7 p.m. Friday, Rock Family Church, 4005 Lee Vance View, $13; 272-7078, ballet magnificat.com.

"Face 2 Face" - By Ballet Magnificat!, 7 p.m. Friday, Rock Family Church, 4005 Lee Vance View, $13; 272-7078, ballet magnificat.com.

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