Video by Maryanne Saxon for MorristownGreen.com:
By Maryann Saxon
Measuring in at just 5-foot-6, Fatima “TNT” Maddox of the Harlem Globetrotters reminded young patients, doctors and staff at the Goryeb Children’s Hospital that good things do indeed come in small packages.
TNT shared tricks of her trade while spreading holiday cheer at the Morristown hospital this week, in advance of the Globetrotters’ performances at the Prudential Center in Newark on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014.
“TNT…. Like the explosive,” quipped the young athlete as she dished out high-fives and bright smiles, demonstrating her basketball skills as she traveled throughout the wards.
“If you love it, you do it,” TNT explained, when asked about her grueling practice and game schedules.
The Globetrotters play 250 games a year, practicing for two hours before each game.
TNT showed up for tryouts in 2011 with no tricks up her sleeve. The former Temple University star’s hard work and show-stopping smile landed her the first female spot on the team in more than 20 years. Since her addition, TNT has paved the way for two other women to join the Trotter family.
Sebastian Palmer, 6, from Lake Hopatcong, took a break from his snack to learn a few tricks from TNT. Encouraged by the lady in red-white-and-blue, Sebastian was able to spin the ball atop his finger for 15 seconds!
Sebastian was the first of many successful tricksters that morning. With a little help from TNT, patients — and a few parents — from the Valerie Fund Children’s Center had the ball whizzing on their fingertips in no time, too.
No ball faltered. That is, until…6-year-old Lily Larue Anderson came on the court.
After watching TNT roll the ball from shoulder to shoulder, balance the spinning sphere on the tip of a manicured finger and swirl the ball continuously in her arm, Lily challenged the Trotter star to balance the ball on her nose.
TNT is used to juggling the physical demands, the on-court fan interaction and the nonstop travel that comes with being a Globetrotting gal, so no one was surprised when TNT accepted the crazy challenge.
The lady Trotter had a little trouble getting the ball to stay perched on her nose, but the adorable little future Coach Anderson finally was impressed.
Radiating enthusiasm throughout her visit, TNT thanked the youngsters for taking time out of their day to spend some with her. Judging by the kids’ reaction, the exercise appeared to be a slam dunk.