Harlem Globetrotters drop by for ‘Smile Patrol’ at Packard Children’s

Harlem Globetrotters at Packard

NBC Sports Bay Area captured the Harlem Globetrotters’ visit to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Watch the segment, which aired on November 18, 2018 during the Golden State Warriors game:

Whistles, smiles and laughter were in the air when players from the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters dropped in for a special visit to Packard Children’s this month. Twirling basketballs, dribbling down hallways and playing ’courtside,’ players Zeus McClurkin and Lili “Champ” Thompson charmed patients and families with their wizardry and upbeat energy.

Zeus and Champ started their Packard Children’s tour with an exhibition for families in the Dawes Garden, where they coaxed smiles from kids, encouraged “happy thoughts” and in record time taught young patients how to spin a basketball on their index fingers.

Globetrotters Packard twirl

“Today we’re doing something called smile patrol,” said Zeus. The Harlem Globetrotters Smile Patrol™ is designed to brighten the day and lift the spirits of some very special fans unable to attend a Globetrotters game. “We’re going room to room,” he added, “trying to put smiles on kids’ faces.”

Zeus, a forward and Guinness World Records® record-holder for the most basketball slam dunks in one minute (16!), exuded optimism as he took group selfies and joked with kids, parents and siblings who had gathered in the garden for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Globetrotters Packard selfie

Champ, who recently joined the team, said she was delighted to be back at Stanford, where as an undergrad she was a three-year starter who led the women’s basketball team to the Final Four. She was later part of Notre Dame’s team that claimed the 2018 National Championship.

Following the outdoor exhibition, the two teammates ‘suited up’ by pulling on sterile booties (size 15 for Zeus) and applying anti-bacterial soap before visiting with patients undergoing treatment.

Globetrotters Packard booties

After roaming the halls on smile patrol, spreading good vibes and cheer, Zeus and Champ headed to the Sophie’s Place Studio for a live show that was broadcast to patient rooms. Between talking about their favorite super heroes, sharing pictures of their pets and singing movie medleys, the players offered up messages of positivity and a shot of inspiration.

“These kids have a great mentality already, you can tell by walking into some of the rooms,” said Zeus. “They already have a huge smile on their face and that actually strengthens the adults too. Because it’s not just the kid going through it, it’s the parent. They’re already stronger than they realize.”

Globetrotters Sophie's Place Studio

“Kids, I encourage you to continue to be strong because we’re looking to you guys, and we respect the resilience that you have.” – Zeus McClurin, Harlem Globetrotter

Champ remarked on the empathy that infuses Packard Children’s atmosphere, noting that supporting each patient is a team effort:

“As we walked through the hospital today, “ she said, “what I really noticed is that there’s a huge support system for all of the kids that are here, between their parents and their family, as well as the staff, the nurses and the doctors. There are so many people who are here to help the kids. And depending on that support system is something that everyone should do.”

When the Harlem Globetrotters came to town, the inspiration at Packard Children’s clearly flowed both ways. It was a slam dunk all around.

Globetrotters at Packard

For more images from the Harlem Globetrotters’ visit, see photo gallery below; to view video clips, click through to our Flickr album: 

Harlem Globetrotters 'Smile Patrol' 2018


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