Harlem Globetrotters Continue “Pushing the Limit” Heading Into 2020; Q&A with Dragon Taylor.

Published on January 14, 2020

The last time I saw a Harlem Globetrotters game was probably when I attended a friend’s 13th birthday party. Seventeen years later, I was able to relive that experience from a completely different perspective, appreciating how funny basketball can be.

Ahead of the Globetrotters 2019 NYE performance at Wright State’s Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, Grit Daily spoke with forward, Dragon Taylor, who has been with the team for 7 years.

Wright State University’s Nutter Center, December 31, 2019

Taylor, originally from the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois, has traveled to over 53 countries and visited 49 states in the U.S. during his tenure with the Globetrotters.

I have one state that’s missing, and that’s Alaska,” Taylor excitingly shared. “Alaska is missing, and whenever they schedule a game, I’ll be the first one requesting to go there!

The 6’4” forward told us that it’s very fun “being able to travel the world, trade memories, and have fun while doing it.”

Dragon Taylor, Harlem Globetrotters

Grit Daily: How did you get involved with the Globetrotters organization?

Dragon Taylor: I played professional basketball elsewhere, and I was sitting at home waiting on teams to call me. The Globetrotters were one of the first teams to call. They said they heard about me and my high jump—I have a 45” vertical, and they saw some of my YouTube footage. They brought me in for a genuine 5-5 try-out and I displayed my talent. And here I am 7 years-later.

GD: So, you didn’t consider any other teams?

DT: I was part of the D-League organization and played overseas in Canada and a few other places. Now, I’m in what we call the “G-League,”—and there’s like the Globetrotters. I love to create memories with the people, traveling to different countries and being around different cultures, and doing what I can to understand their culture, helping to make kids and adults smile. Even grandmas and grandpas.

Creating Memories for Children Abroad

GD: When you started with the Globetrotters, what was the defining moment that first opened your eyes to this opportunity?

DT: I’ll tell you a story. I was actually working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and had the opportunity to meet a kid whose number one wish in life was to meet a Globetrotter. He was battling brain cancer at the time, and I got the chance to meet him and bring joy to him. He was so excited to meet us. That was his only thing in life was to meet us. That really touched me and I realized this is what I was born to do—to create memories for children and with children just like him.

GD: Every player has their own routine when preparing for a game. What’s yours as you come into a new city?

DT: The first thing I do is look up what the city is about, their culture, and favorite food. After that, I get prepared for the game and listen to old-school music. I grew up with it. My mom—that’s all she listened to—the Four Tops and The Sensations—I’ve always liked that type of music. Before the game, that’s what I listen to and it prepares me. That’s pretty much my routine.

GD: I live here in Dayton, Ohio and had the opportunity to come watch you play on New Years Eve. Let’s talk about Ohio.

DT: So, we’ve been to 122 countries and we had the chance to play December 31st at Wright State’s Nutter Center. It was a lot of fun and I haven’t been back in Ohio for a few years. I have family there too and it was fun.

Droning His Way to Every City Throughout the U.S.
Singapore | Image courtesy of Deandre “Dragon” Taylor

During our conversation, Taylor shared with me a pastime of his—photography and drones.

“I love Ohio. Every city I go to, I try to get drone footage. I have a drone photography page and try to get scenery and try to understand the culture, which is one of the things I love to do. I have quite the portfolio right now, but I was missing Dayton, Ohio.”

But beyond photography, Taylor has an edge for flying drones and capturing the perfect moment.

Mallorca Spain | Image courtesy of Deandre “Dragon” Taylor

“As a kid, I’ve always been into photography and I was a tech guy. I loved building things like scooters and mopeds—I always loved electronics as a kid. I got into photography and realized drones were cool too. I flew my first drone and crashed it. When I took my first pictures from up above in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I got a nice scenery picture and thought it was great. So, every city I get a chance to see the city from up-above.”

Queenstown, New Zealand | Image courtesy of Deandre “Dragon” Taylor

GD: What would you say has been most difficult part of your journey, either up and until playing for the Globetrotters, during, or now?

DT: The most challenging thing is being on the road for long periods of time. Sometimes we will be on the road for 7-8 months out of year. You have to be able to stay healthy and be in shape. We are definitely in shape. We play a very tough schedule. We play as all 3 units, up to 300 games a year and be able to keep your body in shape and maintain your health and endure the long tour. Other than that, when we are around kids in every city, there’s a child that hasn’t been there yet, and we get a chance to create memories in every place we go to.

GD: Do you ever get to spend time with a family or group of kids that come to games?

DT: Yes. After our game, we have something called the Fifth Quarter, where we have an autograph session. We play the game and interact with fans while playing—now we get a chance to interact with the people after the game as well and sign autographs. While I love thar part, I also love that anytime we are in a city for a long period of time, I get the chance to bring my family with me, and see what we can do.

For the New Age of Globetrotter Fans

This year marks the Harlem Globetrotter’s 94th consecutive year, according to Taylor.

This year, our motto is ‘Pushing the Limit,’ so we are pushing the limits of everything we’ve done in the past. Now, we’ve added some new trick shots and our Magic Circle this year, with a glow-in-the-dark basketball.”

And it was freaking magical. God, even at thirty-years old, I still enjoy things that glow, shine, and sparkle!

GD: What’s your favorite part about social media as a ball player?

DT: I get a chance to interact with the kids at the game, after, and through our team’s official Instagram, we get that chance to keep in touch with them. We stay active on social media with our fans.

To stay up to date on the Harlem Globetrotters tour, please visit their website.

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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