Harlem Globetrotter talks bullying prevention

Students at three local schools Nov. 8 learned “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention” from a professional basketball player.

Students at three local schools Nov. 8 learned “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention” from a professional basketball player.

Students at three local schools Nov. 8 learned “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention” from a professional basketball player.

Anthony “Buckets” Blakes, a 10-year veteran of the Harlem Globetrotters, shared that he had been bullied as a kid. A classmate was calling him names and Blakes’ response was to smile and laugh. This angered the bully and he walked toward Blakes, who kept walking and laughing while being followed.

The bully had no idea that Blakes was intentionally leading him to a teacher. The bully got in trouble with the school and his parents.

The story had a happy ending though because Blakes and his former bully are now close friends. They later found out that they have a lot in common, namely their interest in sports.

Blakes was at seven Twin Cities metro elementary schools Nov. 8 and 9 to give bullying prevention tips and to promote the April 12, 2013 Harlem Globetrotters game at the Target Center. Globetrotters players plan to speak at over 300 schools and youth centers as part of their 2013 “You Write the Rules” world tour.

Blakes appeared at Adams, Andover and Hamilton elementary schools in Anoka-Hennepin School District 11.

The ABCs of bullying prevention are action, bravery and compassion. Blakes stressed that it is important to talk to an adult if you are being bullied. This is the best action to take.

Blakes said bravery is walking away from a bully or not participating in the spreading of gossip about somebody.

What is equally important is that classmates show compassion to somebody being bullied, he said.

Besides defending the victim, invite them to be a part of your social group so they will have more friends looking out for them, Blakes said.

According to Blakes, the golden rule is to “treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

“‘The ABCs of Bullying Prevention’ fits so well with the district’s bullying prevention program,” said Hamilton Elementary School Principal Diane Merritt.

Before leaving each school, Blakes brought up three students and two teachers, gathered them in a circle and taught them some basketball tricks. He then displayed his own skills with the basketball that make the Harlem Globetrotters so popular.

Tickets, starting at $26, are on sale now at www.harlemglobetrotters.com, www.ticketmaster.com, the Target Center box office or by phone at 800-745-3000.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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