Globetrotter Gombita Wins

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Gombita signs a ball for a young child after the game.

Matthew Gromala , Reporter

   Sophomore communications major and basketball trickster Mike Gombita showed off his skills as the first-ever fan draft pick of the Harlem Globetrotters at the Mohegan Sun Arena March 5.

   Gombita played in the first and the third quarters of the game, and he displayed a rapport with the team as if he’d been playing with the Globetrotters for years.

   “A lot of people have told me that my personality was going to make it much easier for me to fit in the team, and they were right. The team enjoyed my company as being a team member for a day and I even got an off-the-court connection with one of the teammates because he wanted to stay in touch. Overall, I think they were surprised how into it I was being a 20 year old college student,” said Gombita

   Gombita scored a two-point shot in the third quarter, and he came close to numerous others during his time on the court.

   But Gombita said the points don’t matter.

   He said the Harlem Globetrotters are about, and always have been about, having fun and loving the game. Players tell a story every time they step out on the court. A Globetrotters game always has the good guys (Globetrotters) triumphing over the bad guys (no matter what that

team is called).

   The moral to the story is that if someone works hard, is a team player, and never gives up, he or she can achieve anything.

   In this case, that high achiever is Gombita.

   “The experience was amazing. All my expectations were met right from when I walked into the arena. I was treated as if I were a part of the actual team. I think a majority of people were mistaken that I was only playing for just one game because of how welcomed I was,” said Gombita.

   He said the Globetrotters offer entertainment for everyone.

   “It’s all about forgetting your worries for and enjoying the fun and excitement the Globetrotters put on. It’s one of the reasons they have been around for 90 years, “ Gombita said.

   The Globetrotters ultimately beat their opponents, The All Stars, despite the All Stars’ coach employing every dirty trick in the book. The “book” that the coach used was not even a rule book, in keeping with the theatrics central to the Globetrotters. One of the “rules” resulted in Gombita being benched after the third quarter over some “technicality” regarding eligibility.

   Gombita thought his game was over, but he had one more surprise that day: Children waited in line for his autograph.

   “I still can’t get over the fact I had my own autograph line,” Gombita said. “It was funny because at the end of the game, I was trying to get on the phone with Nicolina, my girlfriend, to see how we were able to meet up. I was actually looking over the people who wanted my autograph. I then was looking at them and then turned around thinking they were waiting for someone else to sign and then there wasn’t anyone behind me. I pointed to myself and said, ‘You want me to autograph your stuff?’ Everyone shook their heads in agreement. I felt absolutely excited and honored that people wanted my autograph.”

   Gombita said he signed his name at least 100 times. “It was just so sweet to experience, that rush of people wanting an autograph from you.”

   Gombita originally discovered the contest on Instagram , and he entered a video that featured his Globetrotter-like basketball moves.

   “I wanted to enter just for the fun of it! I felt confident that win or lose, it wasn’t going to be so devastating that I lost, but obviously I won,” he said.

   One of the first people Gombita told of his win was his girlfriend, speech/language pathology major Nicolina Davidson. “He was ecstatic,” she said.

  Gombita thanked many people, especially members of the university community who supported him from the bleachers. “I especially would like to thank the Misericordia crew who was at the game who were the loudest cheering section I have ever had. Just an overall thank you to everyone who got me here,” said Gombita.