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A Slam Dunk Interview 

An Interview with the Harlem Globetrotters' go-to dunker

For decades, the Harlem Globetrotters have been touring the world and showing off their grade-A basketball skills. Just in time for their game at the Deschutes County Expo Center in Redmond, the Source Weekly managed to land an exclusive interview with one of the Globetrotters world renowned basketball stars, Max "Hops" Pearce, who joined the Globetrotters in 2018 after being discovered at the Purchase College dunk contest in New York.

click to enlarge Come see the high flying, half-court shooting spectacles known as the Harlem Globetrotters live at the First Interstate Bank Center in Redmond at 7pm, Jan. 21. - MAX "HOPS" PEARCE
  • Max "Hops" Pearce
  • Come see the high flying, half-court shooting spectacles known as the Harlem Globetrotters live at the First Interstate Bank Center in Redmond at 7pm, Jan. 21.

Source Weekly: Where are you from?

Max "Hops" Pearce: I was born and raised in Tuckahoe, New York.

SW: Did you watch the Harlem Globetrotters growing up? Were they an inspiration to you?

MHP: Yes, to both of those questions. I think the capacity in which I saw the Globetrotters is a little bit different than the way that a lot of kids now are seeing them. I saw a Globetrotter game when I was really young, before I saw them on social media, and then I started seeing them on social media right before I joined the team. I think the kids now are seeing them in reverse. So, they'll see them on YouTube or Tik Tok first, and then very shortly after they'll get to the game. But I definitely drew inspiration from the Globetrotters since I was a kid, after hearing about Wilt Chamberlain, and his career path and how he was a globetrotter for a year and then seeing some Scooby-Doo reruns.

SW: Yeah, those are the ones with, like, Wilt Chamberlain and all of them, right?

HP: Yeah, there were several years where the Globetrotters were featured in different films like Gilligan's Island and Scooby Doo. Some of my teammates were featured on The Amazing Race. So, throughout the course of their history they've been featured on so many different media platforms. So, it's very hard to miss them.

SW: Yeah, I've watched The Amazing Race an uncountable number of times, with Flight Time and Big Easy. What's your favorite part about being on the Harlem Globetrotters?

HP: I think, primarily, the reaction that we get no matter where we travel to in the world and our ability to produce such a reaction. I think it's always interesting to me that we can put a smile on somebody's face, even if we don't speak the same language. And we can just do it strictly through basketball... And then secondly, I would say, it's just the ability to travel the world and continue to play the game that I fell in love with when I was a kid.

SW: That's awesome, man. So, what's your niche, or thing for the show?

HP: I am definitely a dunker. It's something that I've been obsessed with since I was probably 11. I didn't expect it to be such a large part of my life as it is now and I'm happy that it's that way. But if you ever see a Harlem Globetrotter game with me in it, then I'm probably dunking the best.

SW: Can I ask how tall you are?

HP: I'm 6 feet tall.

SW: 6 foot and dunking? That's crazy. And another weird question. Your arm length?

HP: Oh, I honestly don't know what my arm length is. It's been a while since I've been measured for a suit or anything. So, I'm not entirely sure.

SW: You don't remember your last wingspan measurement.

HP: That had to have been in high school and I don't. I don't even remember what the number was per se.

SW: I gotcha. So, how do you guys come up with the nicknames? Is it like an organization thing? Or do agents do it? The players? What's the schtick?

HP: I think the players kind of earn their names through their identity via basketball. So, for my case, my nickname is "Hops," because I have a pretty high vertical. So, it really kind of depends on what your identity as a basketball player is, or as a person. Like, I have a teammate named "Cheese," and he loves to smile.

SW: That makes a lot of sense. So, could you tell me what's next for the Harlem Globetrotters?

HP: So, this year is the spread game tour and it's going to be extremely different. We are incorporating a dunk contest element into our games. We've got a different feel to what it's like to meet a Globetrotter before the game and we've got backstage access. We're focusing a lot more on the player-to-fan interaction and what that means. And I think it's also important to note that all while we're doing that, you know it's very difficult to navigate these times right now with COVID and everything, but we're definitely taking the necessary precautions to make sure that everything and everybody is safe.

SW: Last question. Is there anything you think Central Oregon should know about the upcoming show in Redmond?

HP: So, to start off, I know we're going to be there Jan. 21, at 7pm. The game is at First Interstate Bank Center. And anybody can get their tickets at harlemglobetrotters.com. If anyone comes across the Globetrotters via social media, there's definitely a route for them to purchase a ticket. I think from a game experience perspective, it's just going to be an overall extremely enjoyable outing.

Harlem Globetrotters
Fri., Jan. 21, 7pm
First Interstate Bank Center
3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond
harlemglobetrotters.com
$17-$221


About The Author

Trevor Bradford

Trevor considers himself the forever traveling man. Coming from a military family and with no true place to call “home,” Bend, for now, is where his dad hats hang. When he isn’t traveling you can catch him enjoying fresh air, living his best life and thinking about traveling. He graduated from Boise State University...
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