WILBERFORCE — Two Harlem Globetrotters gave the Central State University basketball teams a message Monday about the importance of education and not giving up.
Globetrotters Rochelle “Wham” Middleton and Lucius “Too Tall” Winston sat on a panel with CSU women’s basketball coach Cathy Parson and men’s basketball coach Antonio Davis.
The four discussed the importance of getting an education, especially for Black people, achieving dreams when obstacles are put in the way and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Winston attended Tuskegee University, an HBCU in Alabama, and Middletown attended Savannah State University, an HBCU in Georgia. Central State is an HBCU just outside of Xenia in Wilberforce.
“Education is key, first and foremost,” said Middleton.
The Globetrotters, a famous exhibition basketball team, also attended anti-bullying events Monday at Dayton Public Schools’ Wright Brothers Middle School and Belmont High School.
Middleton said he was playing basketball for a team in Spain before he was recruited onto the Globetrotters, when he hurt his knee and was sent back to the U.S. He was waiting tables for more than a year before he got onto the Globetrotters. He said he wished he had finished his degree at Savannah State, because he felt then he wouldn’t have had such a hard time getting a job when he came back to the U.S.
He also talked about the importance of overcoming obstacles with a strong mind and self-love.
“Many of us go through obstacles no one knows about,” he said.
Winston said going to an HBCU after attending a nearly all-white high school was a game changer for him.
“I would choose an HBCU all over again,” he said.
Winston said as a business major at Tuskegee, he was required to dress in business casual for all of his classes. But that also inspired him, he said, because there were so many people who came back to the school and who were multi-millionaires. It’s who you know where you will succeed in life, Winston said.
The Globetrotters engaged students, asking them to think about their legacy and taking trick shots and selfies with students afterwards.
After the panel discussion, moderated by CSU Athletic Director Tara Owens, Parson said she hoped the women she coaches understood that if you work hard, that opens doors.
“Anything is possible,” she said.