While in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly General Audience this morning, Pope Francis met with members of a famous basketball team from the United States.
According to Vatican Radio, the Harlem Globetrotters met the Pope and gave him a jersey which said “Pope Francis” and the number 90. They basketball players are in Italy as part of their 2015 international tour.
Before meeting the Holy Father, the athletes entertained the crowds, performing by spinning around their signature red, white, and blue basketballs.
In 2000, the same team met with Pope John Paul II, and named him an ‘Honorary Harlem Globetrotter.’ When given this honor, the Polish Pope became one of only eight people to be officially named honorary members by the team, including: Henry Kissinger, Bob Hope, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Whoopi Goldberg, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Jesse Jackson.
Founded in 1926, the Harlem Globetrotters is an exhibition basketball team that combines athletics, theater, and comedy. Over the years, they have played more than 20,000 exhibition games in 120 countries. The team’s signature song is the Brother Bones’s whistled version of “Sweet Georgia Brown.” Since 1993, “Globie” has been their mascot.