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Harlem Globetrotters won't play longtime opponents Washington Generals anymore

Harlem Globetrotters won't play longtime opponents Washington Generals anymore
The Harlem Globetrotters pull the ol' pants trick on the Washington Generals.

The Harlem Globetrotters won't have the Washington Generals to kick around anymore.

To be more accurate, the Globetrotters won't have the Generals to pants anymore. Or hide the ball from on the way to the basket. Or soak in water. Or to fool with any number of crazy trick plays.

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Most significantly, they won't have the Generals to beat anymore. It's the end of an era.

The Globetrotters have parted ways with the opposing team they lost to only once in well over 1,000 games. John Ferrari, who ran the Generals with his wife, Jody, said he was informed of the decision over the phone last month.

"I got a call about a month ago, and they just told me that that was it," Ferrari said. "I turned to my wife and just said to her, in disbelief, 'It's over.'"

The Generals were formed 63 years ago when Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein asked Red Klotz, Ferrari's late father-in-law, to put together an opponent for his team. Klotz named them after President Eisenhower.

The Generals -- occasionally wearing the jerseys of other teams just for variety -- went on to become arguably America's best-known and most beloved losers. Every now and then they would play a team other than the Globetrotters, leading to a handful of victories through the years.

One of those wins actually came against the Globetrotters in 1971, when Klotz himself hit the winning shot at the end of the game.

Their job was not to lose to the Globetrotters. The Generals players were actually trying to win -- but they weren't exactly playing on an even field. The Globetrotters had all those trick plays ... they were also the referees' employers.

The Generals played the Globetrotters for the last time on Aug. 1, a 90-88 loss.

"All great rivalries come to an end, and as we get set to celebrate our 90th anniversary, we are excited to take on a new opponent," Globetrotters legend Sweet Lou Dunbar, currently a team coach, said in a statement. "We are looking forward to building a new great rivalry as we entertain families worldwide for years."

Ferrari said: "Our job was to make people laugh. That's pretty good. I would tell our players, 'Hey, you'll forget the white-out in South Dakota that kept us from getting out, and you'll forget the time the plane landed late so that you didn't eat for 24 hours, and you'll forget all those small specific things that were hard. You'll never forget what you did. You'll never forget the laughter.'"

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