ATLANTA – The world famous Harlem Globetrotters held their 11th annual player draft June 20, selecting a bevy of talents to represent the team, among them: three collegiate standouts, one of the best up-and-coming players in Major League Baseball, the star of the summer blockbuster Wonder Woman, and an internationally-known two-sport athlete.
Utilizing their social media platform on Twitter (@Globies), the Globetrotters announced their selections live for the second consecutive draft. In a twist, the team's longtime rivals – the recently-revived Washington Generals – did the same, crashing the draft with their own picks over Twitter (@TheGenerals).
The Globetrotters selected six players, including two stars from the 2017 College Slam Dunk Championship – champion Rodney Pryor (Georgetown University) and A.J. Merriweather (East Tennessee State University) – to join the squad, alongside Canadian-born Naz Mitrou-Long (Iowa State University) for the upcoming season.
But the team didn't stop there, scooping up three big names left on their draft board: multi-sport star, Tim Tebow, New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, and actress Gal Gadot.
“The Globetrotters have always tried to be creative when it comes to our draftees,” said Sweet Lou Dunbar, the Harlem Globetrotters' director of player personnel and coach. “Having players who can electrify fans with high-flying ability is a tremendous trait, but they've got to go beyond that. Globetrotters need to be superstars off the court, as well, and we think we've scored a touchdown, hit a home run, and lassoed in the best in all those areas this year.”
Following is a full recap of the Globetrotters' draftees:
• Gal Gadot, an Israeli actress and model, is primarily known for her role in the summer blockbuster Wonder Woman, which was released earlier this month. The 32-year-old is also no stranger to basketball, playing the sport in high school. "Because of my height (5-foot-10), I played on the high school basketball team. I was not an amazing shooter, but I lead them in defense.” Gadot has also appeared as Gisele Yashar in the The Fast and the Furious franchise, before making her superhero debut in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Gadot's latest role as the superhero, has set records as one of the highest-grossing films of 2017, and created a legion of goodwill as being one of the first female superheroes to have their own big-budget movie.
• Aaron Judge has become one of the most popular players in baseball during his first full season with the New York Yankees. He was named the American League's Rookie of the Month in April and May, behind a baseball-best 23 home runs, while batting an AL-leading .335. The 25-year-old, who stands 6-7, was a three-sport star at Linden High School in California where he played center and was the team's leading scorer in basketball, while wearing No. 23. The right fielder recently launched a baseball 496 feet, the longest home run in the majors this season.
• Naz Mitrou-Long finished his standout college career as one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in Iowa State University history and led the Big 12 Conference with 2.8 threes made per game in 2016-17. The 6-4 guard from Mississauga, Ontario, played in 131 career games for the Cyclones and tied for second in career wins (98). Mitrou-Long hit a team-high 98 threes as a senior and sank 260 career 3-pointers, the second most in school history. He was one of the top high school prospects coming out of Canada.
• A.J. Merriweather earned perfect scores of 40 on each of his first three dunks at the 2017 College Slam Dunk Contest before falling to eventual champ Rodney Pryor in the finals. The 6-2 guard from Jackson, Tenn., averaged 8.6 points per game at ETSU during his season campaign, while shooting an impressive 46.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Merriweather finished in the final three for AA Mr. Basketball in Tennessee as a high school senior at Jackson South Side.
• The 2017 College Slam Dunk Champion, Rodney Pryor played two seasons at Robert Morris University before transferring to Georgetown University. In his lone season with the Hoyas, Pryor averaged 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 2016-17. The 6-5 high-flying guard earned first team All-Northeast Conference honors in his final season at Robert Morris. Pryor had an outstanding high school career at Notre Dame Prep in prep career in Niles, Ill.
• Tim Tebow is a Heisman trophy winner (2007), and two-time national champion as a quarterback at the University of Florida. A former first-round NFL draft pick (2010 Denver Broncos), he switched over to playing professional baseball with the New York Mets' Class A affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies, after leaving football in 2015. Like the Globetrotters, Tebow is an ambassador and role model to children. He devotes himself to charity, raising money for pediatric cancer patients and disadvantaged children. Tebow also serves as a college football analyst for the SEC Network.
Past draftees by the team have included future Globetrotters, as well as high-profile celebrities and sports figures who are excellent examples of what the Harlem Globetrotters are all about – fun, entertaining, and family-friendly basketball.