Are the Harlem Globetrotters Family Friendly?

My family and I had never been to see the Harlem Globetrotters, not even when I was a little kid, so watching the Harlem Globetrotters show was a first for us all. Before we headed to the show I played some videos for the girls of the Globetrotters in action, you should have seen how wide their eyes were in amazement. They kept asking if we were going to see the,  “basketball guys” every day leading up to last Saturday.

Needless to say we were all very excited. We expected to see lots of cool basketball tricks and silliness that was geared towards families. When we arrived at Time Warner arena the lines were longer than I had seen at a performance/show there. {That was a good sign for us, and luckily it wasn’t too cold outside.}

Here are some shots from the game:

Harlem Globetrotters MommyB Collage

Here are our thoughts as a more conservative family, and please keep in mind our girls are ages 3 and almost 6 years old.

Things that were applause-worthy:


  • Overall entertainment value
  • Sportsmanship Globetrotters had with their own team
  • Great athletics and skill
  • Silly moments including  fun with Globie and Big G
  • A girl on the court of course!!! {Miss A and Lil C were thrilled to see T-time}
  • Fun interaction with the crowd


Things that were cringe-worthy:


  • Some humor was mean-spirited, slightly vulgar
  • Sportsmanship between the opposing team was not there


Again, we do have smaller kiddos and conservative values, and while there are only two “negatives” on our list, there were several instances of both that we just weren’t comfortable with. For example, there were multiple comments about a referee’s weight {even going to the extent of pulling up his shirt}, a mini bump-n-grind session between Special-K, {the showman/mc} and a woman in the audience at half-court, some name calling mostly of the opposing team.

Personally, I feel like the show could have left jokes that seemed more demeaning or bullying out and been more encouraging and showing children in the audience how to be skilled and win without needing to call names or be cocky. One mom said she felt like the humor was to the tune of Spongebob and we did notice a few other parent’s expressions with some of the jokes/comments that were made.

If people were to ask me if this is a family-friendly show before I had seen it I would say, “of course!!” And I even put it in the title promotional post before the show: Harlem Globetrotters Charlotte – Wholesome Family Entertainment. And now, if people were to ask me I would still say it is family-friendly with some more explanation and disclaimers for age and appropriate-ness. The show did have a lot of redeeming factors and it was fun and overall entertaining, however I would not say it’s currently a, “wholesome show”, which is unfortunate.

The Harlem Globetrotters have such an awesome name recognition and have so much amazing history, not to mention all the charitable causes they do benefit, that if the writers would adjust the show slightly to show more tricks and skill, and keep the fun humor of the Globies, spraying water on the audience, and the fun fan moments the show would be even more attractive to families of all ages and values.

All-in-all though I know families are different and know that parents know their children and families the best, if you are interested in checking the show out for yourself and want to get your tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters “You Write the Rules” tour use the promo code “TOGETHER” to save $7 per ticket*. *Discount available on select ticket levels”

Have you ever been to a Harlem Globetrotters show?? What were your thoughts?


My family and I received complimentary tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters show. This in no way effects my opinion of the show and all thoughts expressed in the above post are mine, my husband’s or those I observed.


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Jennifer Bullock

MommyB Knows Best is a family friendly website that features fun tips and tricks for parents, fresh segments you won't see on other websites, honest in-depth product reviews, and great giveaways. For more information about MommyB and MBKB check out the MommyB Is page.

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I’m going to a show tonight, so I’m curious if I’m going to have the same feelings you are. I’ll try to look at it from the perspective of a parent with small children too. I’ve seen them twice in the past, once as a child and once with my own small children and I don’t recollect anything negative at all, so now I’m curious how I’ll feel!

  • I completely agree with you MommyB. Although everything was meant in fun, I didn’t find it completely appropriate for my 5.5 and 21 month old. It really does depend on the family but some of the humor could possibly cause bad behavior for children, if they choose to “imitate” what they saw here. We loved seeing the tricks but wish they would have done more tricks!!

  • MommyB, I loved your honesty in this post!

    My family attended the Globetrotters game for the second year in a row and my 2 boys (ages 7 and 9) laughed non-stop. They were thoroughly entertained! I think they do a great job of engaging the audience and it is a good value for the family (except for the high -priced merchandise they sell…err $35 basketballs!).

    We do enjoy the silliness of the Harlem Globetrotters and I agree that the the joking was not just silly, at times it was hurtful. Last year when we attended, the jokes were not as derogatory. The one about the referees weight bothered me, too. My kids really liked the bathroom humor of someone passing gas. I wish all of that had been left out because I spend enough time telling my boys not to use this content in our daily conversations!

  • Thank you for the in-depth review, exactly the right amount of information I needed to be make the choice to take my 4 yr old and 22 month old too. We will not be going yet thats for sure 🙂

  • We paid $125 for a family of 5, the youngest being 5. It was not the show I saw as a young adult and difficut to sit through to the end. The jokes were inappropriate for young children and aduts; it did not show good sportsmanship and the performance was boring. One routine was good but repeated over and over again.

  • Hey guys! I’m visiting New York in November and I want my family to enjoy a good sporting occasion in the Big Apple!! I was thinking about going to see the iconic Globetrotters, however I’m slightly concerned about the mixed reviews that I’ve seen. I’m worried that it might be a bit too kid friendly (I’m 20, my sister is 17 and my parents are both 50). Should I be looking else where as it appears that the Globetrotters show is for more younger families. I’d appreciate any advice that you could offer!

  • Would not recommend as Good Family Values. The first “audience participation” event 5 minutes into the 2017 show pulled three adults from the crowd. The “emcee” on floor commented on the girls lovely wedding ring and then said he would “call her tonight”. They lost me right there. There continued to be a few things that I was not comfortable with our elementary aged kids seeing or hearing. We will not go back.

    • Yeah, I’m not really sure what they feel like they need to be crude or vulgar, perhaps to get laughs from the adults, but I know when we went I was cringing and giving my husband looks like “did they really say/do that”. It’s sad, I feel like there are less and less things that are just plan wholesome family events. Definitely seek those out instead. Sorry you had to experience that as well. I encourage you to share this post or maybe even write your own review on their page or share if you’re on social media. Best wishes!

  • They must have change a few things, we didn’t see anything vulgar or crude. Very kids friendly. I think my kids learned from the poor sportsmanship type show casing because it was something they were able to point out and understand made it sill.

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