By Jack Margaros
SPRINGFIELD – There are not many college students across the country who can say that on their way to class, they got to shake hands with a Harlem Globetrotter.
But at Springfield College, that’s just another day at the Birthplace.
Last Thursday, camped outside of the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union was “Firefly” Fisher, a 10-year veteran of the Globetrotters. Harlem’s signature theme song, “Sweet Georgia Brown” stretched as far as Blake Arena, roaring through the speakers under Fisher’s tent.
Dressed in a red, white and mostly blue warm up suit was “Firefly,” who vehemently called students and faculty from the crowd surrounding him to take pictures and participate in tricks.
He greeted everyone he encountered with a handshake and asked, “How is everything going for you?” before posing for a picture. Everyone who participated in the meet and greet left the tent with a noticeably brighter attitude. Fisher’s comforting smile and ability to connect with the crowd is part of what being a Globetrotter is all about.
“Being a Harlem Globetrotter, not only do you have to be a great basketball player, but you have to be a great person. Not every great basketball player is a great person,” Fisher said. “To put it all together is a Harlem Globetrotter and I’m really happy to be a part of it.”
After all that, he signed some autographs and handed out Globetrotters branded headbands before preparing to speak at the Harlem Globetrotters Leadership Panel Discussion later in the day.
“It’s always good to come to Springfield College, the Birthplace of Basketball, and show love because basketball isn’t basketball without the Harlem Globetrotters and I’m really fortunate and happy to be here,” Fisher said.
Coming out of Sienna College in 2008, Fisher was not really set on his aspirations, he just knew basketball was going to be a mainstay in his life.
“I was just thinking of professional basketball and doing the best I could possibly do,” he said.
Fisher got drafted by the Globetrotters in 2008 and has been with them ever since. He and the Globetrotters travel the globe every year to perform jaw-dropping basketball stunts with the ultimate goal of spreading joy through the game.
“The Harlem Globetrotters was my calling. Athletically and also my personality as well. Not everybody can be a Harlem Globetrotter,” Fisher said.
In addition to the intense training that comes with being a skilled professional basketball player, Firefly also has to incorporate tricks and add his own unique twist to stand out from his other teammates.
“The differences with the Harlem Globetrotters is that we have to learn a lot of tricks and being creative in our own way,” he said. “I didn’t even know how to spin the ball on my finger coming to the Harlem Globetrotters so I had to learn that, plus a lot of other things as well.”
He compared his transition from college basketball to the Globetrotters to what many first-year students face when adjusting from high school to college.
“(Students) gotta be able to be on the computer the whole time. They gotta be able to stay up late and get up early in order to go to class. It’s the same thing. Not everybody can do it,” Fisher said.
“That’s the reason why people like us, the Harlem Globetrotters and people that go to Springfield College and other colleges, we’re different and that’s what makes a great person so special.”
Looking back at his decade with the team so far, Fisher’s favorite part is something that not many professional basketball players can say they have done, which is travel the world on a regular basis.
“Being in 70 countries, that’s something that nobody can take away from me. I might not be able to run like I used to when I get older or play basketball, but the memories that I have experienced on the road, traveling to all these different countries definitely taught me a lot about life, and that’s something that I cherish the most with the Harlem Globetrotters,” he said.
Even when retirement hits, he will always carry the label of “Harlem Globetrotter” wherever he goes.
“The Harlem Globetrotters is life. If you can be a Harlem Globetrotter, then you’re going to have a great life and I’m happy that I went through everything that I went through,” Fisher said.
*Featured photo courtesy of Springfield College Division of Inclusion and Engagement