He used to be athletic in his youth, so he’s at home in the world of sports. However, he probably never thought he would be counted as a professional basketball player.

In November last year, the Holy Father became an honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters. The basketball team gave the Pontiff a framed team jersey, assigning him the number 75. Why 75? The Globetrotters are celebrating their 75th anniversary.

Both the Pope and his new team are known for their extensive travels. The Globetrotters have gone on 115 goodwill trips. As of November 29, 2000, John Paul II has visited 124 countries.

The professional basketball players wanted to do something significant for their 75th anniversary. “We couldn’t think of anything more significant than to honor this man, who has done so much spiritually, socially and culturally for the world,” team owner Mannie Jackson told Catholic News Service.

Globretrotter Curley “Boo” Johnson is a practicing Catholic. He adds that the pope “epitomizes everything an ambassador of good will should be, and we are also called ambassadors of good will.”

Pope John Paul II is the 7th honorary Globetrotter, as is former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Posted on Legacy of Pope John Paul II
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