News Article

Previous

Globetrotter stops to teach

`Shake-N-Bake' takes his best moves to Youth Basketball of America.

September 29, 2005 | By Debbie Barr, Special to the Orlando Sentinel

Former Harlem Globetrotter Frank "Shake-N-Bake" Streety earned his nickname because of his original recipe for befuddling and ultimately cooking his opponent: a shake and a dribble to the right, a sudden switch and repeat to the left, then a surprise move in between the legs.

Streety, 59, was well-known for his fast and flashy moves on the asphalt of his native Harlem before being drafted by the Globetrotters in 1969.

However, as an instructor for the Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) Hoopsters program in Orlando, Streety puts the fancy moves on the back burner. His aim these days is to impress upon kids the value of learning the fundamentals in both the game of basketball and the game of life.

"Everything comes from the basics. Once kids learn the basics, it carries them through life," said Streety, who has homes in both Harlem and Poinciana in Osceola County.

YBOA is a nonprofit, international organization founded in 1990 and headquartered in Orlando.

The Hoopsters instructional program, held at Hunter's Creek Middle School in Orlando, tipped off Saturday with boys and girls from the ages of 5 to 14 participating.

During the upcoming 10-week session, young hoopsters divided by age group will learn the basics of ball-handling and shooting as well as principles of good defense and offense.

Good sportsmanship, teamwork and leadership skills will be sprinkled in throughout, Shake-N-Bake style.

"A part of my agenda is to educate too," said Streety, who played point guard for the Globetrotters.

Best-known for his master dribbling and shooting skills, Streety played more than 1,000 games across the U.S. and on every continent across the globe with legendary teammates that included Meadowlark Lemon, Marques Haynes, Robert "Showboat" Hall and Fred "Curly" Neal.

Streety was the born the fourth child in a family of nine children in Harlem, which in the 1940s was a culturally diverse neighborhood known for its music, art and beautiful brownstones, he said.

Families on each block developed a tight-knit community that socialized together and kept an eye out for each other, he said.

The importance of family and of education emphasized during his growing-up years laid the foundation for Streety's involvement with youth.

"The first thing every family had to do -- no ifs, ands or buts about it -- was to go to church on Sundays and to graduate from high school," he said.

Streety played stickball, stoopball, kickball and marbles in the streets with neighborhood kids because cars, then a luxury, were scarce.

"We got a chance to be kids," Streety said. "The streets were our playground, basically."

At first, basketball wasn't as popular in his neighborhood, he said, because the only outdoor hoops available were downtown. That changed, however, when high-rise projects went up. With them came outdoor basketball courts and park facilities.

Streety said that once he picked up a basketball at about the age of 12, he never let it go.

"I would leave the house with a basketball and come home with a basketball," Streety said. "I started to dream, eat and sleep

basketball. I couldn't wait for the next day to play basketball, that's how much I got to love it."

Streety said he earned the nickname of "Shake-N-Bake" in high school because of his deft moves with the ball while weaving in and out of an obstacle course he created with wooden soda crates.

"I was a crowd-pleasing type of player," Streety said. "I was very noticed."

He went on to earn an associate's degree in business administration from Broome Tech Community College in Binghamton, N.Y., and a bachelor's degree in business from Murray State University in Murray, Ky. He led both college teams in National Collegiate Athletic Association play-off games and was later inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame in 1992.

After college, Streety was spotted by scouts during the annual summer Rucker Tournament at Rucker Park in Harlem. The Detroit Pistons and the Harlem Globetrotters each offered him a chance at the pros.

It was a slam-dunk decision for Streety, who said that he had seen the Globetrotters as a child and had been impressed by their ability to make people smile.

"It wasn't a lot of income. It was more the love and dedication of making people happy," said Streety, who between games made numerous side visits to hospitals, group homes and schools to talk about the importance of supporting youth.

When Streety's playing contract with the Globetrotters ended in 1974, he began partnering with schools, community organizations and nonprofits such as Covenant House and Big Brothers Big Sisters to promote the importance of education, family and self-esteem among young people.

To date, Streety has participated in more than a dozen YBOA national youth basketball tournaments in Florida with former teammate Curly Neal. He became involved with the YBOA Hoopsters program in Orlando 2003.

Rick Dunn, YBOA coach and director of league development, said the program teaches new players basic skills and allows more experienced players to develop skills further.

Dunn said lessons in maturity, commitment and proper attitude are learned on the court but apply off the court too.

Streety agreed.

"Family and love and teaching the right things are all fundamentals," Streety said. "Our main objective is our youth. The fundamental in dealing with kids is that kids come first."

Registration is still ongoing. For more information call 407-363-9262 or visit yboa.org. Winter and spring sessions will also be available.