School spirit soared at KIPP Comienza Community Prep when students received a surprise visit by Scooter Christensen, the dribbling wizard from the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters — known as the originators of basketball style and the influencers on today’s game who bring incredible acrobats, high-flying dunks and side-splitting comedy.
“At KIPP Comienza, we work to support the whole child including their curiosity, creativity, health, and fitness,” said teacher Ms. Marianne Perez, who helped pave the way for the Harlem Globetrotters to not only visit our school but create space for dialogue and show students fun ways to stay physically active, while inspiring our KIPPsters to never give up on their dreams and passions!
"Today, the Globetrotters continue to bring their entertainment to millions of fans around the world with more than 400 live events each year," but while in Los Angeles for their Spread Game tour it was important for them to connect with KIPPsters.
Showing a commitment to fans that goes beyond the game, Harlem Globetrotter Flip White did just that by connecting with 6th grade KIPPster Cristopher A. and giving him the unique opportunity for an exclusive interview — a true experience like no other. Check out the interview below:
KIPPster: How did you fall in love with basketball?
Flip White (FW): Well, my father put the basketball in my hands at the age of four and I've been playing since. My father played with NBA legends such as former point guard and now Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers and Charlotte Hornets' all-star Isaiah Thomas. My father was the man and that’s why I fell in love with basketball — because of my father.
KIPPster: What do you do to stay on your ‘A’ game?
FW: I’m a very determined person. It is all about passion and discipline. You need discipline in everything that you do. Once you have discipline everything else can be easy, whether it be school work or work. I understand my tasks and goals so that’s how I stay focused and ready for the next challenge.
KIPPster: Can you share your all-time favorite moment in your career?
FW: I’ve been on the team for 10 years, I’ve been to all 50 states and to more than 65 countries, I’ve been on the “American Ninja Warrior” TV show three times and I fell in the water once or maybe three times but that’s neither here nor there, but my all-time favorite time is when we come out before each game.The lights go off, the low fog sets in, and they play “Sweet Georgia” as we come out, and then the lights come back on and I look up at the stands and see all the smiles on the kids faces and also the parents — that’s my favorite time, every single time. I also love going to school visits, like Scooter, to get that one-on-one time with students, teachers and even the principals. That's big for me.
KIPPster: Do you ever get nervous to perform/play in front of so many people?
FW: Yes, I’ve been playing for a decade and still get nervous to this day. Don't be afraid of that nervous feeling, though. I’m a perfectionist and want to bring that ‘A’ game, but I get nervous thinking what if today is the day that I don’t so it’s those nerves of ‘what if’. But, if you love what you're doing and you get nervous before you do something that means that you're truly passionate about it and you truly love it.
KIPPster: Who inspires you every day?
FW: Personally, my parents! They are my heroes and my stars. My mother and father have been through so much in their lives and seeing their resilience, determination and hard work to make sure we were taken care of inspires me to carry that strength day after day. Professionally, “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson because I love his work ethic; he is everywhere from commercials to movies and more. But overall, my parents are my heroes.
KIPPster: How important is dedication to master your cool moves?
FW: Dedication is what leads to everything. To do these moves, we practice two to three hours before the game; it isn’t luck. We take the time to practice every single day to make sure the show is just right for the fans. If we don’t, we would be missing shots, missing dunks, missing everything so it’s critical for us to be determined and have dedication for what we do to make these trick shots. I’m also a vet now so it’s up to me to pour my knowledge into the new generation and they are ready, they are great listeners, and they are dedicated. It’s a lot of work that we put in but we love what we do!
KIPPster: Can you describe one of your favorite games?
FW: I come from Chicago, Illinois and my grandparents used to take me to Globetrotter games when I was younger. So to be able to play at the United Center where Michael Jordan, my all-time favorite player, played and to have my kids, my parents, my granny, and my cousins come and see me play there was a remarkable experience!
KIPPster: Favorite school subject?
FW: My favorite school subject was math by far. I was so good with numbers. In fact, my teachers would get upset because I didn’t show my work. I remember being asked to solve a problem on the white board to demonstrate how I got my answer.
KIPPster: How do you keep your energy so high to perform on the court, especially with so much going on in the world today?
FW: Great question. It is our job to continue to perform during our shows regardless of what may be going on. So what keeps my energy so high is my ‘why.’ My ‘why’ is my family, I want to continue providing for them and that’s what keeps me going. My career helps take care of my kids and knowing that I’m going to see so many new faces, so many families excited, that keeps me motivated to perform on a top level for them!
And the fun didn’t end after this last question! There was a special surprise for our KIPP Comienza KIPPster, take a look!
Cristopher A. got a chance to visit the Crypto Arena and see Scooter and Flip on the court showcasing their out of this world acrobatics and unbelievable athleticism, including Flip's favorite "The Legend of Tarzan" surprise dunk.
Overall, the Harlem Globetrotters shared their relentless drive for what they love, the importance of health and wellness, and the power of laughter. The Harlem Globetrotters gave our KIPPsters the biggest smiles and great encouragement to succeed — “every shot counts.”