Harlem Globetrotters draft Mariano Rivera
On Tuesday, Rivera was one of five athletes selected in the Harlem Globetrotters' seventh annual player draft, a yearly event that sees them select a handful of the sports world's finest to become honorary - and if they choose, permanent - members of the iconic franchise.
The other four players chosen were all collegiate hoops stars, with ex-Baylor center Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in this year's WNBA Draft, the most notable selection; joining her and Rivera were High Point University's Corey Law, NAIA All-American Tyrone Davis from Florida's Northwood University, and University of Detroit Mercy start Doug Anderson, who won this past year's College Slam Dunk Contest. From a statement released by the team:
"Brittney Griner is a great ambassador for the game of basketball and a terrific player, and we fully support her WNBA career with the Phoenix Mercury," said Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. "Our North American tour runs from the end of December to the end of April, which would not conflict with the WNBA season. The Globetrotters already have two outstanding female stars in TNT Maddox and T-Time Brawner, so the transition to our roster would be seamless.
"And in the fourth quarter, when the Globetrotters need to close out a game, who better than the best closer of all-time? Mariano Rivera has made a living by finishing off opponents. We always have a place on our roster for winning athletes with that kind of mindset. His charitable work through the Mariano Rivera Foundation also embodies the spirit of the Globetrotters giving back to the community."
While you never know if Rivera will take the Globetrotters up on their offer to move across the Harlem River, Griner declined the team's offer, telling espnW that "while it's an honor to be considered, I am under contract with the Phoenix Mercury and the Zhejiang Golden Bulls."