Chris “Handles” Franklin always knew he wanted to be a Harlem Globetrotter.
“For me … I always wanted to since I was a little kid since I saw them on the cartoon,” Franklin said. Either that, or a mystery solver — since he loved the Scooby Doo cartoons, too.
Franklin, who will play in Friday’s Harlem Globetrotters performance at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, is very familiar with Indiana, he said.
As a student at Lock Haven University, Franklin played against Indiana University of Pennsylvania regularly in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference basketball games. He became the school’s second all-time assist leader and is fifth on the school’s all-time steals list. When he finished his career, he had been in the top 10 in the country in assists and steals twice.
Since his run at Lock Haven, he’s played with the Globetrotters for seven years.
“After college I was one of the top (ball) handlers in the world,” Franklin said. “The Globetrotters came looking for me.”
It was numerous television commercials between 2000 and 2004, freestyling with basketball stars such as Paul Pierce and Vince Carter, that led the Globetrotters to him, a press statement said.
Franklin earned the nickname “Handles” because of his ball-handling ability. Each Globetrotter has a unique name; others include “Special K,” “TNT” and “Firefly.”
According to HarlemGlobetrotters.com, “he can dribble while he lies on the floor and spins around. That ball’s got to have invisible handles on it somewhere.”
The start of the holiday season is just the beginning of a long tour, Franklin said, that began Christmas morning.
“It will be five months — until about May — and then we go overseas and play in South America, Asia, Europe.”
The team plays 250 games a year.
He loves playing in Pennsylvania, though, he said, because it’s close to home.
“Whenever I’m close my family tries to come out ... anywhere in the vicinity is kind of like home for me.”
At Friday’s show, you’ll see him perform his signature move — a half-court shot that he does on his knees. Another shot that he thinks fans will love is a half-court hook shot by another team member will do.
“I think the fans in Indiana would love that when they see it.
“The Harlem Globetrotters show is like no other show around,” he said. “You don’t even have to be a basketball fan, everyone that comes out will have a good time.”
This year, new to the show, is an interactive twist on the event. By going to HarlemGlobetrotters.com, fans can vote for the moves they think should be included in Friday’s performance. (http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/rule)
Tickets are still available for Friday’s show by visiting www.kovalchickcomplex.com. The show begins at 7 p.m.