ROANOKE, Va. (NewsNation Now, WFXR) — Cue up Sweet Georgia Brown. Get the crowd hyped. And watch Big Easy Lofton try to inbound the ball to his Harlem Globetrotters teammate Hot Shot Swanson as they plan a visit to Roanoke’s Berglund Center on Aug. 24.

This visit is part of their newly-imagined “Spread Game Tour” which covers 150 cities this year.

The tour, though, is not the only story involving the Globetrotters that’s creating headlines as they’re interested in joining the NBA.

Yes, you read that right.

The beloved traveling basketball show is comprised of former college standouts and intriguing talents, and their ownership group is asking the National Basketball Association to let the showmen into the league as a proper team.

“Based on what we’ve already proven, we can field a team of talent on par with the pros of today, and we want the chance to do that,” an open letter from the Globetrotters to the NBA reads. “As a world renowned and legendary professional basketball team, we petition [NBA] Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA governors and the powers that be to grant The Original Harlem Globetrotters an NBA franchise. Not now, but right now!”

On its surface it may seem out of place, but the Globetrotters have a unique history with the NBA. They played (and beat) the Lakers twice in 1948 and 1949, before the NBA was integrated. They toured the world afterwards and expanded basketball’s appeal.

The NBA has kicked around the idea of returning to cities like Seattle and Vancouver that used to have teams, but nothing is imminent, and the Globetrotters would make for an unconventional fit. No major American league has integrated an existing team into its portfolio since the mergers of the 1970s.

The Globetrotters are owned by Herschend Family Entertainment, which owns regional theme parks and attractions across the country.

Tickets for their Roanoke appearance are on sale now by clicking here.

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