Q&A with Shane “Scooter” Christensen
Shane “Scooter” Christensen, a standout point guard for the Grizzlies from 1998 to 2002, has played with the Harlem Globetrotters for ten years. We interviewed the Las Vegas native about life as a Grizzly and a Globetrotter. His answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
What was it like making the adjustment from Las Vegas weather to Montana weather?
When that winter hit I said, “Boy, they got me good.” It was the first time I’d seen a snow blizzard and deer running across the road. I’m like, “What is going on?” I was by those tennis courts and the wind hit. Oh, my goodness. Once, it was a fairly good day and I kept thinking, “Man, when it’s a good day out here, people go throw the Frisbee, they walk the dog, play hackysack.” I’m not used to that. Because when it’s a good day in Vegas, you stay inside, because it’s hot.
How do you feel about entertaining, as opposed to playing competitive basketball?
When I first started it was a huge change for me. I’ve been competitive all my life. And you’re showing your skills in a different way—as far as entertainment and making people laugh and smile. It kind of forces you to be on your p’s and q’s every night. When I happen to miss a shot, I can’t go down with a scowl on my face or get mad, because you’ve got kids looking at you. In a regular basketball game you’d probably say something you shouldn’t say. But in a Globetrotter game, you’re under a light. When I played competitively, I used to love people talking smack to me. At practice, sometimes [the Globetrotters coach] will have to stop us because we’ll get too competitive with each other. Because that competitiveness never leaves you.
The Globetrotters have always been about entertainment, but lately they’re doing a lot of work on anti-bullying. Can you tell me about your perspective on the team’s evolution?
The Globetrotters have always been the ambassadors of goodwill. Even back in the Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon days, they were ambassadors, visiting kids and doing a lot for their own communities and their cities. Now we have a lot more programs than we’ve had in the past, but that’s only because the atmosphere of the world has changed. Bullying happens every single day. You see it on the Internet, on the news. It’s just crazy. We feel that we have a lot of kids that look up to us as celebrities. Sometimes, a kid may get the same information that we’re saying from their mom or their coach or their teacher, but it may not register the same way it does when it’s coming from a Globetrotter. My teammates and I do a great job of understanding that and knowing that we can get to a kid in that way. All of us on the team, our aim is to play basketball, have fun, but also give back to the community, and the Globetrotters organization is, by far, the perfect way to do that.
It sounds like church has always been a pretty important part of your life.
I grew up in the church. I sang in the choir. I had an uncle who was a preacher. My grandmother was the clerk of the church. My grandfather was the head of the deacon board. My uncles and cousins played the instruments. I may not go to church now as much as I used to back in the day, but my faith and my belief in God have never left me. You travel so much, and it’s so hard to get to places when you’re on the road. I’ve prayed, and I’ve kept my faith in God, which has helped me through everything. My belief starts with Him first and everything else follows that. If that’s right in my life first then everything else is going to fall into place.