Abraham M. "Abe" Saperstein

Enshrined 1971
London, England
July 4, 1902 - March 15, 1966


Although only 5-foot-3, Abe Saperstein, through his promotion of the Harlem Globetrotters, did more to popularize and publicize basketball than any of the game's big men. A masterful promoter and shrewd businessman, Saperstein's keen sense of entertainment, and his handling of the Harlem Globetrotters was genius. Originally a high school team, they became known as the Savoy Big Five (after the Savoy Ballroom on the south side of Chicago) and on January 7, 1927, played their first game in Hinckley, IL. Initially, the "Trotters" were an all-black barnstorming team playing serious ball and dominating games across the country. Saperstein soon began adding a little spice to each game. Through Saperstein's vision and dedication, the Harlem Globetrotters developed and became world famous for a unique style of play that combined technical mastery with humor, slight of hand, and fun.

Career Highlights

Saperstein's Globetrotters played before 55 million fans in 87 countries
Trotters were part of the first basketball sellout ever at Madison Square Garden
Led the Globetrotters to the World Professional Title, 1940
Won the International Cup with the Globetrotters, 1943, 1944