Kevin Hargrove ‘14 finds losing can be a winning experience

News Image The Muhlenberg men’s basketball alumnus finds happiness in the role of Globetrotter foil

By: Ron Czajkowski ‘71  Thursday, June 11, 2015 02:00 PM

Men's basketball player featured in the 2015 Spring alumni magazine

Once a winner at Muhlenberg, Kevin Hargrove ’14 now gets paid to lose, and he couldn’t be happier. After graduation, the journey from being the Mule’s all-time men’s basketball leader in game, season and career blocked shots took an unexpected bounce over the summer. Hargrove, a 6’10,” 230-pound center from Queens, N.Y., plays for the Washington Generals, the perennial, predictable foil for the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters.

The Generals, who play the Globetrotters in venues as far ranging as Sioux City, Iowa, and Stuttgart, Germany, have won only three games since 1953. But that infamous record hasn’t prevented Hargrove from enjoying a once in a lifetime opportunity for a career on the world stage.

After making the team, he was joined by players from colleges the likes of SUNY Farmingdale, Virginia Wesleyan and Idaho State in their nightly test of basketball skill and theatrics against Globetrotter favorites such as “Moose” Weekes, “Handles” Franklin and “Big Easy” Lofton.

Is there a script? Do you practice the routines in advance? Do you have a predictable role to play in each game? Does that role change? Hargrove can’t answer in detail since that would give away the magic that’s part of the Globetrotters allure. But he is forthcoming about how he fits into the scheme.

“Every game I go out and try to give it my all and contribute to the team’s success,” says Hargrove. “Knowing that defense is my main strength on the court, I always try to be that anchor that I was at Muhlenberg. I was brought in to defend and rebound on both ends. Each one of us brings something different to the table, and together we’ve been able to put together a great team on the court.”

Hargrove concedes that the sellout crowds are in attendance to see the Globetrotters, but the Generals always get a few fans “who love to root for the underdog, and that makes it even more fun.” And yes, a Washington Generals fan club really does exist.

Hargrove is uncertain about his future post-Generals; a tryout with a European professional team is a possibility. But for now he is under contract while the miles, the experiences and yes, those losses, keep accumulating.

“Whatever happens next, playing professional basketball and seeing kids and families smile everywhere we go is great,” Hargrove says. “I try to play every game with as much effort and enthusiasm as I have, and remember that in the end, what the Globetrotters and the Generals do is not about the score, it’s about the laughter.”

This article is an excerpt and originally appeared in the Spring 2015 edition of the Muhlenberg Alumni Magazine. The author, Ron Czajkowski ’71, earned a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University in 1975. Now semi-retired, he crafted a 40-year career in weekly and daily newspapering, public relations and most notably, teaching. He resides in Somerville, N.J.