Can’t win for losing. Globetrotters fire Generals

What’s going on here?

First, Sesame Street jettisons PBS. And now the Harlem Globetrotters are cutting ties with the Washington Generals.

ESPN reports the Globetrotters are ending their relationship with the Generals, their nightly opponents in their act.

That’s 63 years of tradition gone right there.

“I don’t know exactly how many times we lost, but I’d say at least 16,000 is a safe number,” (Generals’ general manager) Ferrari said. Losses started to pile up quickly as the Globetrotters and the Generals fielded three teams in each of the past five years.

As word started to circulate about the team folding, the fraternity of those who have played for the Washington Generals over the years called each other to share the news and reminisce about their time with the green and gold.

“I was shocked when I heard,” said Antoine Maddox, who was plucked out of LaGrange College in Georgia to become a Generals player in 2007. He loved traveling and playing so much, he said, he stayed for four seasons. “I just think the Harlem Globetrotters can’t be the Harlem Globetrotters without the Washington Generals.”

Eric Belkowski, who played for the team from 2009-11, hated to be the subject of all the gags.

“I would make sure I wasn’t at the spot on the court where I knew they would do their thing,” Belkowski said.

The two other things that stick in his mind?

“Well, even though you knew what you were getting into, losing every night and two times a day on the weekends was tough,” he said. “And man, the Globetrotters used to hack us, and we’d never get the calls.”

That’s understandable. The Globetrotters do, in fact, pay the refs.

NBC says the Globetrotters offered the Generals no reason for the divorce.

“Our job was to make people laugh,” Ferrari says. “That’s pretty good. I would tell our players, ‘Hey, you’ll forget the white-out in South Dakota that kept us from getting out, and you’ll forget the time the plane landed late so that you didn’t eat for 24 hours, and you’ll forget all those small specific things that were hard. You’ll never forget what you did. You’ll never forget the laughter.’”

The Generals had one final game against the Globetrotters this month and while it might have been tempting to beat the entertainers for only the third time in their history, they did their job.

They lost.