Harlem Ambassadors hold court in Rifle | PostIndependent.com
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Harlem Ambassadors hold court in Rifle

Amanda Holt MillerPost Independent Staff

A group of hot-shot professional basketball players stormed the courts at Riverside and Rifle middle schools Tuesday. They performed for their young crowd and dunked a series of inspirational messages.The Harlem Ambassadors, a traveling part of the Harlem Globetrotters show team, will make its second annual appearance at Rifle High School tonight thanks to the Rifle Rotary Club. It’s the second year the club has sponsored the team and the first year the team has made special appearances at the middle schools.After the seventh- and eighth-graders were all riled up and excited by class noise competitions and a few basketball tricks, the ambassadors made their appeals to the students.”You’re going to hear it over and over again until the day you finish college,” said player Julian Assikay, better known as Ju Ju. “But it’s up to you to listen to it. Stay off drugs. We play 150 games a season. There’s no way we could stay in shape and do what we do, if we were on drugs.”All of the team members, the announcer and the referee all said something about themselves and offered something inspirational to the students. There were a few previews of the awesome stunts the group plans to perform at tonight’s event as well.They had a couple of the teachers, Kelli Wisniewski and Jim Boone, learn some tricks from the pros. The teachers were passing a basketball around their backs and through their legs and passing them off to each other and to the Ambassadors.Terry Turner, also known as Jump Man, brought eighth-grader Dayton Lucas out of the stands and had him run circles around the gym. Lucas raised his hands in front of one section of the crowd, which responded by shouting “knowledge.” The next section shouted “is” when Lucas ran past and the final group yelled “power.””That’s right – knowledge is power,” Turner said. “And no one can take it away. Put as much into your mind as you can,” he said.


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