Despite the fact that the Harlem Globetrotters are a mostly male team, a few female members have had the unique opportunity to showcase their talents as well. Fatima "TNT" Maddox, recruited in 2011 after a nearly 20-year absence of ANY female players, has managed to consistently "wow" the crowds with her signature moves.
In this interview, Maddox shares her basketball journey and provides encouragement on how parents can help their daughters who wish to become basketball stars.
A. I actually started playing basketball before I started track, so I was a basketball player that decided to give track a try. My friends were going to go and try out for the track and field team so I decided to go with them and ended up being fairly natural. It still took hours of hard work to become good.
Q2 Was your family supportive of your basketball dreams?
A. Yes, they have always been very supportive of my basketball career once they realized I was serious about it. I think that helped motivate me to want to make them proud.
Q3 You were coached by the legendary Dawn Staley during your time at Temple University. What did you learn most from her in regards to the game?
A. Yes, I played for Dawn Staley in college and it was a great experience. She taught me a lot about being a basketball player and also giving back to the community.
A. I always wanted to be a professional athlete so when I had the opportunity to do that in Sweden, I jumped on it. I think the thing that I learned most was how to become a better communicator since I had to overcome language barriers. It was a mind opening experience.
Q5 What led you to audition for the Harlem Globetrotters versus the WNBA?
A. I didn't audition for the Harlem Globetrotters as they invited me to work out for the team. I did very well so they decided to sign me. It has been an awesome experience so far.
I also signed with the Houston Comets in the WNBA straight after college but it didn't work out; I was just waiting for my opportunity to come back around but I became a globetrotter before that happened. Now, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Q6. What do you enjoy most being part of this storied team and what have you learned from former female players?
A. The thing I like most about being a Harlem Globetrotter is the fact that I get to inspire young people into chasing their dreams and showing young ladies that we can do anything we put our minds to.
Q7 What basketball players do you most admire?
A. There are too many to name!!
Q8. What advice would you give to parents whose girls may want to play basketball professionally, whether overseas, the WNBA or with the Harlem Globetrotters?
A. Try and make sure that they are having fun when they first start out playing as opposed to doing all of the super hard work it takes to be great.
You want them to fall in love with the sport as opposed to looking at it as a job or a chore or something overly stressful. The rest will take care of itself.
Q9. How do you see your career evolving with the Harlem Globetrotters?
A. Well, I hope to be a player up until my body will not allow me to do so. I love what I do, it's a lot of fun and we touch a lot of families. But, I'm taking it one day at a time, enjoying it and seeing how it unfolds.
Q10. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
A. Believe in yourself even if accomplishing your goal is a "long shot" away because sometimes long shots go in.
To see Fatima "TNT" Maddox, along with the rest of the Harlem Globetrotters, visit their website at: www.harlemglobetrotters.com to see when they are coming to your area.