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Double Dribble: Globetrotters Court Married Couple

Jun 29, 2010 – 8:17 AM
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David Moye

David Moye Contributor

(June 29) -- The Harlem Globetrotters are boldly going where no sports team has gone before: Drafting a husband and wife to play together.

As part of their annual draft on June 22, the 'Trotters selected married couple Shaunte Nance-Johnson and Anthony Johnson, both University of Montana basketball stars, to attend Globetrotters training camp for a shot at joining the team.

Although the Globetrotters have had eight female players before -- and one of them, Joyce Walker, recommended they draft Nance-Johnson -- this marks the first time the team has selected a married couple and it is believed it's the first time for any pro sports team.

Dynamic Globetrotter Duo
Courtesy Gracie Blackburn
Anthony Johnson and Shaunte Nance-Johnson became the first husband-wife duo to be drafted by a professional sports team when they were both selected by the world famous Harlem Globetrotters as part of the team's 2010 draft class.

It's a prospect that excites the couple, who started dating after high school and were engaged after two weeks of official dating.

"The night before I was supposed to leave for college, he got down on his knee with a rubber band and proposed," Nance-Johnson said.

Johnson realizes that the chance of he and his wife becoming Globetrotters is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but figures that "Team Johnson" matches up well with the venerable organization.

"Our personalities are a perfect fit for the Globetrotters and they are a perfect fit for our antics," Johnson said. "We are a source of comedy wherever we go. [The Globetrotters] specialize in entertainment, but can still play basketball."

Nance-Johnson agrees. "Anyone who's seen our Facebook videos know we like to have lots of fun," she said. "We do a lot of goofy dancing and have our silly moments."
But while "Sweet Lou" Dunbar, who played nearly 30 years with the Globetrotters as the team's showman and is now the team's director of player personnel, can see the comic possibilities of having a husband and wife on the same team, he emphasizes that the rookie training camp, held in New York this September, focuses much more on basketball than on theatrics.

"Our ball handling, it comes with time," Dunbar said. "We have the players take their balls to their room at night to practice. We have a saying: 'If you don't break a few lamps, you haven't done your work."

Besides working out with the team, Johnson and his wife have the advantage of playing together.

Johnson tells FlashNews that they practice all the time together at home and share pointers, especially the shooting game of "H-O-R-S-E," where players take shots from different areas of the court, each representing a letter in the word "horse." The first one to spell the word wins.

Nance-Johnson told a slightly conflicting story.

"We get so competitive that we try not to play together," she laughed. "There are times when things get so heated that I won't cook dinner or he goes crazy."

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