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Globetrotters entertain, teach local students

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Harlem Globetrotter Fatima "TNT" Maddox, left, of Philadelphia and Anthony "Buckets" Blakes of Phoenix, Ariz., visit Ivy Creek Elementary School in Buford to teach students the importance of the "C.H.E.E.R. for Character" program on Wednesday. The acronym C.H.E.E.R. stands for Cooperation, Healthy mind and body, Effort, Enthusiasm and Responsibility. The goal of the program is to benefit the students character development.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Harlem Globetrotter Fatima "TNT" Maddox, left, of Philadelphia and Anthony "Buckets" Blakes of Phoenix, Ariz., visit Ivy Creek Elementary School in Buford to teach students the importance of the "C.H.E.E.R. for Character" program on Wednesday. The acronym C.H.E.E.R. stands for Cooperation, Healthy mind and body, Effort, Enthusiasm and Responsibility. The goal of the program is to benefit the students character development.

Video

Harlem Globetrotters visit Ivy Creek Elementary

Video of the Harlem Globetrotters teaching students the importance of its "C.H.E.E.R. for Character" program in an entertaining fashion on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

Video of the Harlem Globetrotters teaching students the importance of its "C.H.E.E.R. for Character" program in an entertaining fashion on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

BUFORD -- With excited eyes wide, gesturing with her hands, 8-year-old Karen Besse tried to relay what she'd just witnessed in the school gym.

"First he spun the basketball this way, then he spun it that way, then back behind him..." the young girl furrowed her brow, pausing for the right words. "I was like,'what? Impossible."

She and fellow students at Ivy Creek Elementary got a visit from two Harlem Globetrotters Wednesday afternoon, a reward that Principal Yvonne Frey said was good for her students.

"This is something special for them. With sports, it's one of those areas where kids automatically look up to athletes," Frey said. "Not only are the kids getting enjoyment out of seeing the Globetrotters perform, they're learning the importance of having good character."

Globetrotters Fatima "TNT" Maddox and Anthony "Buckets" Blakes shared words of wisdom with the students, using the acronym, CHEER, to encourage Cooperation, Health, Effort, Enthusiasm and Responsibility.

Blakes said he relished the opportunity to be able to "give back and share some life lessons with them."

Maddox, the only female Globetrotter on the team, agreed.

"It's about the kids, inspiring them to be better people, to try a little harder when they can," Maddox said.

She added that the basketball team's signature hoops stunts "don't hurt" in getting the attention of elementary school students.

The kids oohed and aahed as Buckets and TNT took turns spinning a red, white and blue basketball on their fingertips with centrifugal force. The team's famous theme song, "Sweet Georgia Brown," whistled from big speakers as they tossed the ball back and forth.

Young Besse wasn't the only one impressed by the seemingly impossible tricks.

Seth Glausier, 11, said the Globetrotters were "really good."

Dylan Monaghan, 8, agreed. "It was really cool," Monaghan said. "The tricks were good."

Added Monaghan: "People should really listen to those things they were saying about being a better person. You can live a better life."

Frey said she was glad the players arrived. "This is really great for these kids," she said. "We were thankful to have them out today."

The Globetrotters were in town for their 2012 World Tour at the Gwinnett Center, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.