When TNT Maddox became the first female Harlem Globetrotter since 1993, she wasn't sure how she'd be received by her fellow players. But the Colorado Springs native says her teammates are now like her brothers, and that she's had nothing but a positive experience since donning the red, white and blue jersey for the historic team.
In advance of the Globetrotters coming to town for two games on Saturday, January 5, Westword caught up with Maddox to see how she was prepping for another year of bringing a unique brand of basketball to courts around the world.
TNT Maddox: They have scouts that go around the country looking for different talent, and they actually invited me to try out. I went to a few mini-camps before they offered me a contract. The main camp was in Philadelphia, and it was about a month after I had come home from overseas -- I played in Sweden for two years. It went really well. Fortunately for me, it worked out and it's still working.
What is your schedule like throughout the year as a Globetrotter?
We have a United States tour that starts on January 26 and will run until about roughly mid-April, where I alone will probably play 115 to 120 games. That's pretty much a different city every day. After that, it's more the European tour, where we go overseas. We've gone to Afghanistan and played for the troops for the first time ever -- so it's exciting.
Do you feel like you're treated any differently because you're a woman?
I'm glad you brought that up. I wasn't really sure how receptive the guys were going to be about having a woman on the team. But honestly, they're like my brothers now. They really welcomed me with open arms, as far as developing as a Globetrotter.
I tell people, I walked in the door with two brothers, now I have about thirty. (Laughs.) So that's how it feels and I mean, it has been great. The fans have also been really receptive. This opportunity has been awesome for me.
Is there anything different about playing and training with the Globetrotters than, say, a more "traditional" team?
Yeah, we're a little more (about) entertainment, more intimate with the fans. After every game we make sure we stay out and sign autographs and we do a lot of stuff off the court. That's what really brought me into the Globetrotters, as opposed to going back overseas.
Collectively, we've probably been to over 400 schools; we have a bully prevention program that we started just this year, and I'm excited about that. We go to hospitals and visit Boys & Girls Clubs.
We do a lot off the court as well -- and that's different for me. Not that I wasn't doing it before, but not at this level. We have a bigger stage to do things like that. Another thing I think is cool, especially as a woman, is that we're fighting against breast cancer throughout this whole U.S. tour. A portion of the game we play with a pink basketball, and I'm proud to be a part of team that helps out.
What is your favorite part about playing with the Globetrotters?
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Personally, I'd have to say the fans. I get an opportunity to know them, they get to know me. At the end of the day, basketball is basketball, and I think that is what takes it to a different level, for me, at least. That's been my favorite part so far.