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Harlem Ambassadors raise spirits, funds

When Judge Bill Locke signed up to play in a charity basketball game Tuesday night, he didn’t know he’d be a target when the game turned into a wrestling match.
Locke was on his back when he received a big splash and then an elbow drop before getting pinned for the three count.
That was just one of the many antics that took place at Warren County High School when the Harlem Ambassadors came to town for a fundraiser to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center.
The event was as much a comedy routine as it was a basketball game with frequent breaks in the action for dancing, jokes, and even a football game.
Locke was singled out several times, but the judge took it all in stride with a smile on his face and a few dance moves up his sleeve.
“Look at this guy,” said Harlem Ambassador ringleader Lade Majic. “He’s got the salt and pepper thing going on with his hair. He’s bringing sexy back.”
On cue, Locke took the opportunity to shake his booty as the crowd erupted in laughter. Moments later, Locke found himself on the wrong end of an elbow drop.
“That definitely got my attention,” said Locke. “They warned us they might take some of us down and to play along, but I wasn’t expecting that.”
The Ambassadors brought a kid-friendly, drug-free message with them to WCHS. Several sponsors contributed to pay the roughly $4,000 booking fee for the six-player team with the entire gate going to the Children’s Advocacy Center.
Over a dozen local residents comprised an all-star team to face the Ambassadors and serve as joke fodder. Andy Harrell was singled out for one gag that ended with his shorts pulled up to his chest as he was trying to shoot a free throw.
Another foul-line gag involved 6-foot-9 Ambassador Brandon Harris. WCMS teacher Shea Panter scored one for the home team when she snuck up behind Harris and pulled down his shorts to reveal SpongeBob underwear.
In addition to humor, the show featured many, many dunks from the Ambassadors and even one from WCMS teacher Adam Wood.
“We probably get around 30 dunks a night,” said Ambassador Jerome Robinson, who soared for several slams. “That’s why we tape our hands.”
Robinson said the Ambassadors develop all the comedy skits themselves, led by Lade Majic who has been performing professionally for 18 years. She’s been with the Ambassadors since 1998.
The Ambassadors are composed of two teams which combine to perform around 250 shows a year. The team that performed in McMinnville on Tuesday was in Jamestown on Monday and will play tonight in Jackson.
The Ambassadors have performed in 49 states and 19 countries, according to the team’s website.

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