The Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their basketball skills and thrills to Washington this weekend and Fatima “TNT” Maddox was one of two players who chatted with fans online.
The Seattle Times set up a chat with TNT and Jacob “Hops” Tucker and the following are some of TNT’s answers. For the full chat session go to www.seattletimes.com/sports.
Guest Question: A question for both players: They say “basketball is basketball,” but I wonder what kind of adjustments you’ve made to play “Globetrotter” basketball.
TNT: For me, the biggest difference is we have a closer relationship with our fans as opposed to a regular ‘basketball team.’ After every game we stay out and sign autographs before we go back to the locker room. So, each fan can get the autograph of their favorite player. We do a lot of things off the court — in schools, hospitals, community centers. that’s been the biggest thing for me.
GC: Fatima: What type of reaction do you get when people ask you what you do and you tell them you play for the Harlem Globetrotters?
TNT: It’s kind of funny. It’s either a hit or miss with that. People don’t expect for a woman to be on a professional men’s team of any kind. They’re very surprised to say the least and they’re pretty impressed.
GC: Hey Fatima so how are you liking the tour so far. I know that you’re sleeping pattern isn’t the best.
TNT: That’s funny because I am always on Twitter talking about how tired I am, or how I’m going to sneak a nap in. I’ve been working on it. We travel every single day.
GC: Talk about the journey to become a Globetrotter. How were you contacted? What kind of “audition” was there? How familiar were you with them?
TNT: I was in Philadelphia and just got back from Sweden where I played. They invited me to a tryout. There were four women and 15-20 guys. We all tried out next to one another. A month later, they invited me to be a part of the team.
GC: What does it mean to you to be the first female since Lynette Woodard to make the team? (Woodard was the last woman to play for Globetrotters–1993)
TNT: It’s meant a lot to me. Lynette Woodard was the first woman to ever play for the HG. It means a lot. I have a younger sister and nieces, and it’s important for me to represent them in a positive way. (I’ve been) getting lots of great feedback from women, even from young boys and their fathers that I’m inspiring them. (It) feels good to have that kind of an impact on someone.
GC: Fatima, do you want to play in WNBA?
TNT: I have always wanted to be a professional basketball player in general. I played in the professional league overseas. I feel like this is the best fit for me to be a pro basketball player. It goes beyond basketball, allows me to get into the community and give back, which has been near and dear to my heart. Honestly, I feel like this is a perfect situation for me.
GC: What was your first impression coming into Seattle? Do you get to see much of the towns you’re in? If so, anything you’ve particularly enjoyed so far of Seattle?
TNT: Well, I’ve never been to Seattle yet. I’m looking forward to taking in the environment as a whole. I’m going to try and see some of the sights. A lot of the cities we’ve been to, we’ve been able to go to some of the malls, but it’s rare to just travel around. Our experience of each city is usually the fans. We’ll come in, practice a few hours, play a game, and afterwards we usually try to get something to eat. But to see the sights, it gets a bit hard.
GC: Both players: Do you choose your nicknames? What’s the story behind getting yours?
HOPS: The nicknames are something that we are given. They’re given as something that represents you. My name is Hops because I can jump.
TNT: I didn’t come in with a nickname, a couple others did. My name’s for being an explosive player, which is pretty fitting, and I’ve embraced that nickname.
GC: When you join the Globetrotters is the history and tradition of the team a constant presence? Did you have to go through a GT “orientation” of sorts?
TNT: It’s always there. We’re always reminded of that every single day. That’s actually what makes us more appreciative of where we’re at. We had a two-week training camp in NY which was pretty intense and rigorous. But I think it made us better and prepared us for time ahead, all in all very successful.
GC: Besides playing the game the Globetrotters have certain players do certain things within the game. What’s your favorite thing to do during a game? What is your favorite thing to watch other members of your team do?
TNT: We get to be a part of the game every single day. With the GT, we never know exactly what’s going to happen so things here and there still catch us by surprise. For me, it’s really good to meet the fans, they make it that much more special. I look forward to that.
The Harlem Globetrotters will play at 7:00 pm on Friday, February 24th at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, then at 7:00 pm on Sunday, February, 26th at Comcast Arena in Everett and finally at 2:00 pm at the KeyArena in Seattle.