Mighty player helps bring Globetrotters message to town

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:50 p.m.

Mighty Mitchell is one of the guys.

The 5-foot-6 rookie female guard plays for the Harlem Globetrotters who will be in town Wednesday. She will be the first woman to play with the team here in 20 years.

“The guys on the team are amazing,” says Mitchell, a St. James, La., native, who played at Dillard University in Louisiana. “They have really accepted me. They offer tips on how I can become a better player, too. They are warm and welcoming guys. They are really good players. Some of them can shoot the lights out, and they make it look so easy.”

You might notice a pink basketball during a portion of the game, which they will be using throughout the tour for breast-cancer awareness.

The North American leg of the 2013 World Tour will tip off with this game and run through April. The team will play more than 270 games in nearly 240 cities in 45 states and nine Canadian provinces.

New for this tour is “You Write the Rules,” which lets you go online and decide the new rule that will be added to Globetrotters basketball — a rule that could affect the outcome of the game. This can be anything from playing with two basketballs at once to getting double the points for each basket made.

Mitchell says this kind of fan interaction is wonderful.

“It's about entertaining the fans, and it's a fun event for the entire family,” she says. “I just hope I can motivate young girls to believe in themselves. And that no dream is too big.”

Her favorite shot is one that is 35 feet from the basket, which is 12 feet farther than the NBA 3-point line. Mitchell says she likes not only being able to play the sport she loves, but also visiting hospitals and schools. Her teammate Cheese Chisholm recently teamed with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and Homestead native Charlie Batch for the basketball team's newest school initiative, “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention.” The athletes showed the students at Steel Valley Middle School how to demonstrate action, bravery and compassion.

“Pittsburgh is a great city,” says Chisholm, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who played at Ball State University in Indiana. “I can't wait to play there. I think it is cool that we come to Pittsburgh the same time every year so people know when to expect us. I like some of the new things we are doing to get fans involved because it gives fans a more hands-on experience. We get to interact with them face to face and they can meet the players. I am looking forward to coming to Pittsburgh and I know Mighty is, too.”

He says Mitchell is an important part of the team. She joins fellow rookie Time Brawner as the 10th and 11th females to play for the Globetrotters.

“We are looking forward to playing with her,” Chisholm says. “She is like a sister to us, and she practices hard. She is a rookie, so we encourage her a lot, because we want her to feel a part of the team. We also encourage all the rookies to continually work on their craft. We can all get better.”

Being part of the Globetrotters gives players an opportunity to travel and create memories, Chisholm says.

“It is more than just a game,” he says. “It's a performance and a chance to meet so many people and get messages across such as the team's new school initiative on bullying. Part of the experience is to do well on and off the court. And to be the best role model I can be. My job is to deliver the message, and if I reach one person, then it will all be worth it.”

Mitchell echoes those sentiments.

“We don't just play basketball,” she says. “We reach kids and we visit hospitals and schools. These are opportunities to make a difference. We care about more than the game, and that is one of the reasons I am happy to be a part of this team.”

Fans can stay after the game when Globetrotter stars remain on the court for autographs and photographs with fans.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com .

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