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Globetrotter visits Portland to discuss weekend appearance

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Team members teach a young fan how to do the new “Trotter Bounce,” created by Mark Ballas of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Dizzy Grant of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters visited Portland this week to discuss the team’s 2014 “Fans Rule” World Tour that will bring the team to the refurbished Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday, March 23 at 2 p.m. and the Augusta Civic Center on Monday, March 31 at 7 p.m.

The sharp-shooting Grant discussed the 2014 “Fans Rule” World Tour, the Trotter Bounce, the team’s World Vision partnership, and what local fans can expect to see at the Globetrotters upcoming performances.

The Globetrotters last year became the first organization in sports entertainment to let fans vote on the rules of the game. Since the fan response was so overwhelming, the team is doing it again this year, only with even zanier rules to choose from.

Also new for this year, fans will get an opportunity to dance along with the team as the Globetrotters incorporate the new “Trotter Bounce” into their show. The dance was created by world-renowned choreographer Mark Ballas of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Fun footage of the Globetrotters learning the dance can be seen at http://bit.ly/1fZuaND.

Known as the “Ambassadors of Goodwill,” the Globetrotters are currently campaigning to promote their partnership with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization that works with communities around the world – including the U.S. – to provide long-term solutions to poverty.

Grant started playing basketball after he attended a Harlem Globetrotters game at the age of seven. He now holds the distinction of sinking the first 4-point shot in basketball history, when the Globetrotters unveiled their game-changing innovation during a nationally-televised ESPN2 special on Dec. 5, 2010. The basketball and 4-point circle he utilized for the 35-foot shot is now preserved at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.

Grant is known as a superb ball handler and a big cut-up who is especially adept at doing impersonations. His spot-on takes of other basketball superstars, plus the legion of funny characters he has created on his own, have garnered him a cult following on the Internet.

One of the things Grant has especially enjoyed about being a Globetrotter is entertaining U.S. troops overseas. “Playing a game of basketball on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf for the troops is the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” he says. “It was awesome to stand on the deck, 50 feet from where the fighter jets land.”

The New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year his senior season in college, Grant was a first team all-conference selection in both his junior and senior seasons. When he’s not dazzling fans on the basketball court, he enjoys playing golf – he consistently shoots in the 80s – and bass fishing, which he does three to four times a week on his bass boat when he is at home. “My newest obsession is pretending I’m hosting an outdoor adventure show when I video my fishing trips.”

Grant wants to reach youngsters the way his father reached him. “He taught me what hard work is and how it can pay off,” he says. “I just hope I am doing the same for others out there in the world.”

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