Former Bulldog great Ricky Melendez, left, and wife Becky, right, pose with Anthony Atkinson
Alex Melendez, bottom, and T.J. Melendez, left, with Anthony Atkinson at St. Petersburg Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., recently.
A couple of Bulldog basketball legends got together recently at the St. Petersburg Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., where the Harlem Globetrotters performed recently.
There was current Globetrotter Anthony Atkinson, who led Barton to the NCAA Division II men's basketball championship last spring, and Barton Athletic Hall-of-Famer Ricky Melendez, who led the Atlantic Christian Bulldogs to the NAIA Tournament in 1987.
Ricky and his wife, Becky, brought their sons Alex and T.J. as part of a group of 12 folks to see the Globetrotters, with Ant providing the tickets. Becky worked with Anthony's mother, Vivian, for many years before the family moved to Florida.
Ant took the Melendezes behind the scenes to meet several of his Globetrotters teammates and then brought nine-year-old Alex onto the floor during the game for a skit in which Alex got to shoot the ball. Alex made the basket and got an autographed jersey after the game.
Becky had this to say about Anthony: "Anthony Atkinson is a perfect fit with the Harlem Globetrotters! He is entertaining, hasmagnificent skills and just has the perfect smile and pizzazz for what he is doing. He absolutely loves it and the kids love him!!! We had a fantastic evening with him and wanted to share with his fans and family in Wilson."
The Globetrotters are headed to North Carolina this month with games in Asheville (March 19, Asheville Civic Center), Winston-Salem (March 21, Lawrence Joel Coliseum) and Charlotte (March 22. Bobcats Arena).
I spoke with Ant on the telephone this morning and he assured me he's been keeping up with Barton basketball as the Bulldogs make a push to get back in the NCAA Tournament.
"Yeah, I think they'll be all right," he said.
After all, they are still unbeaten on national television!