Harlem Globetrotter Bull Bullard will visit Huntington
The Harlem Globetrotters have been exciting audiences with spectacular basketball feats, comedy and worldwide goodwill for 93 years now. In January, the troupe will be making its yearly visits to the Tri-State with shows in both Huntington and Charleston.
Before the sports entertainment legends come to town, however, current Harlem Globetrotters star Bull Bullard will travel to Huntington to promote the show and to elaborate on the positive message that the team brings to every stop.
Even though the Harlem Globetrotters have been performing for audiences around the globe for almost a century, they continue to strive to come up with new ideas and themes. Currently, they are in the midst of what is called their “Fan-Powered World Tour.” It is a way of bringing more access to the Globetrotter fans as during each performance as those who attend their show will get more access to the players than ever before.
Bullard has been performing with the Globetrotters for over a decade now. He brings cred to the table in two areas. On the sports side of things, Bullard has helped his Globetrotter team mates to achieve two official Guinness World Records, one for most successful half court shots in an hour and the other for longest-ever somersault basketball shot from over 58 feet away. He has also appeared and competed on the American Ninja Warrior TV show three times.
On the life experiences side of Bullard’s cred, he grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and found himself in the foster care program by the time he was 12. Surrounded by many chances to take the wrong road in life, a foster parent turned him onto basketball and instilled in him many positive life messages.
As a result, Bullard was determined to live on the positive side of life thereafter. That was not easy, yet not only has he succeeded, Bullard has also developed the skill of teaching positivity to kids from all walks of life, races and cultures.
“I love being on the road like this,” Bullard said. “It took me a while to get used to this lifestyle, but I fell in love with it and have been doing it for 11 years now. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and I wouldn’t say I grew up in foster care, but more like there was a point when I was in foster care that I had to grow up really quick. From the age of 12 to about 15 years old, I was bounced around to about six foster homes and those were troubling and testing times for me. There were plenty of times that I wanted to give up, but I didn’t do it because I knew I had a big plan ahead of me in life.”
Somehow, a sense of right and wrong and the desire to see the picture came was developed in Bullard as a young man.
“One of my foster moms wanted me to play basketball and I have been doing it ever since,” said Bullard. “I love it. It has taken me all the way around the world to 63 different countries and every state in America except for Alaska. My foster mom wanted me to get outside and do something positive instead of being negative and sitting around the house all day. When she told me to go outside and play some basketball, I said, ‘OK, I can play basketball. It is kind of fun.’ But, I never thought it would get me to the point where I am a Harlem Globetrotter. You never know what can happen once you start something, and that is where basketball has taken me. I just wanted to focus on the positive aspects of life, so whatever I was going through back then, I wanted to make sure that I put all of that energy into basketball. No matter how negative a situation was, I was going to walk away from it and pick up a basketball. That is exactly what happened and I just happened to get good at it.”
Once Bullard found a place to be successful, he discovered that he was also up to the task of being a positive role model and, talking with young folks to show them a way out of a negative environment.
“Whenever I am out there and a kid comes up to me and shows me that her has a Bull Bullard jersey on, I think it is pretty cool and I will try to do a little extra for him or her,” said Bullard. “But, it doesn’t matter who the kid is, I try and do a little extra for everybody. When you know that you are influencing someone, you try to be perfect off the court as well because they are still watching you on some kind of social media platform. You do not want them to come across some kind of bad example by me or anything like that, so we try to keep it all positive and on the straight and narrow.”
For Bullard and his teammates, it is about giving back and setting a good example for those on society’s edge.
“I am proud to be a Harlem Globetrotter,” said Bullard. “I am sure that everyone on the team has their own thing that they try and do when they go back home. As for me, I have a group fitness project that I do and I also do some motivational speaking. I also try to help coach kids wherever I am at as well. Whenever I walk into a gym and they see me, they go a little bit harder then what they usually do. That is the influence that we have as Globetrotters, so it doesn’t matter where we are at. We could be almost anywhere in the world and everybody is going to know that the Harlem Globetrotters are going to be bringing positive energy. Now, I see a lot of kids that have grown up and they will come to a show and say, ‘Yeah man, I saw you guys play when I was eight years old and now I am 18.’ It can be young men or young women that come up because we do have six women on the Globetrotters team, so everybody influences everybody.”
Bullard will be coming to Huntington Sunday, Jan. 7 to promote the official Harlem Globetrotters show taking place at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. Tickets range from $26 to $97. More information can be found at bigsandyarena.com or 800-745-3000.