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Handles is known for his impressive dribbling skills. Courtesy photo.




Harlem Globetrotters

Where: Verizon Wireless Arena, 555 Elm St., Manchester
When: Saturday, March 22, at 7 p.m. 
Cost: Range from $23 to $130 depending on seating
Visit: ticketmaster.com or harlemglobetrotters.com




How he Handles
Harlem Globetrotter talks about living the basketball life

03/20/14



 When Chris Franklin was a kid, all he wanted to do was play basketball. At 6 years old, he saw the Harlem Globetrotters when they appeared on Scooby Doo and dreamed of joining the team. 

Seven years ago, the Globetrotters found “Handles,” as Franklin is better known, and the rest is history.
“I am actually living a dream,” Handles said. 
Right now, Handles is on the Harlem Globetrotters “Fans Rule” World Tour with his teammates, traveling the globe to play for thousands of fans. This weekend, the tour is making a stop in New Hampshire. 
As the name suggests, each tour stop has a choice of rules that fans can vote for on their website. The winning rule will be played into the game the night of the show. 
“Each quarter has its own specific rule. I think a fan favorite is the Trick Shot Challenge. Coaches can challenge players to a trick shot, and if we get it in we get 5 points but if we miss we lose 5 points,” Handles said. “Another rule is the Hot Hand Jersey where the points get doubled for the person wearing that jersey. There’s the 6-on-5 rule and two basketballs rule; there are all kinds of rules,” Handles said.  “It’s been interesting and fun. I tend to like the Trick Shot Challenge.”
With hours of practice, Handles said, he’s managed to live up to his nickname. 
“I got it while I was in high school from the way I would dribble the ball. They would say, ‘You can handle that ball,’ and they started calling me Handles and the name just stuck with me on to my career,” he said. “Each player has their own nickname that describes what kind of player you are.”
Handles said that, like his teammates, he has some unique tricks and defensive strategies.  
“One thing I like is that usually I’m on the ground with the basketball dribbling and people like to try and steal the ball, but it’s hard,” Handles said. “Another thing I do is my half center, on-my-knees backward shot. That’s one of my favorite trick shots.” 
If that sounds unusual for a basketball game, it is -- but then, nothing about the Globetrotters is traditional. 
“A Globetrotters game includes a lot. You can see anything from high flys to slam dunks, all paired with funny skits,” Handles said. “We try to create memories that last a lifetime. We’ve been doing this for 88 years and you don’t need to be a basketball player to have fun. It’s great family fun.”
The players play over 250 games a year across the world. There are 26 players at any given game. 
“We split up to cover the entire world,” Handles said. “Something that’s unique is that we sign autographs after every game for as long as possible.” 
Handles said talking to fans is one of the best aspects of his job. 
“For me, this is what I’ve always wanted to do since age 6. I’m inspiring others and showing people that you can do whatever you want to do in life. I try my best to always inspire others to know you can do anything you put your mind to,” he said. “It’s amazing being a Globetrotter. We pride ourselves as being great role models and ambassadors of good will. I’ve been to 74 different countries across the globe and it’s good to be a part of an organization that makes life better for others. I’ve even played basketball at the White House with President Barack Obama.” 
Aside from their games, the Globetrotters often participate in speaking engagements at schools about their ABC’s of Bullying Prevention. Handles said he spends time teaching kids in basketball camps as well.
The Harlem Globetrotters will play at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Handles has been to the state before and said he is looking forward to returning again. 
“I enjoyed New Hampshire. Each place has its own uniqueness, and I’m looking forward to coming back. You have good food there too,” he said. “We’re usually in and out, but I try to get out and see the communities and see the people.”  
 
As seen in the March 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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