Meet Your Hometown Hero – E.C. Smith

By Laura Bennett

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters are known for their incredible ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction, but they also serve as Ambassadors of Goodwill™ with community initiatives such as S.P.I.N.™, C.H.E.E.R.™, SMILE PATROL™ and The ABCs of Bullying Prevention. This year, the Globetrotters have added a very special new initiative with the Harlem Globetrotters Hometown Hero, which honors an active, wounded or retired member of the military that has made their community proud with their service and exemplary character at each stop on the World Tour.

At Thursday’s game at the Frank Erwin Center, the Harlem Globetrotters honored E.C. Smith, a WWII veteran of the U.S. Navy who served as a Seaman First Class. During his time of service, Smith served on an APA (troop ship) and an LCI (Landing Craft). What makes this Hometown Hero especially unique is his past experience with the Harlem Globetrotters.

E.C. Smith

Rotary Engineers was a company based in Midland, TX and did business with all of the major oil companies. For advertising purposes they established a basketball team made up of players from various backgrounds that played both city and statewide. Smith played with the Rotary Engineers when they were asked to play the Harlem Globetrotters in the Coliseum in Odessa. At this time, Goose Tatum was the “star” and Marques Haynes was the outstanding dribbler with the team. They played for a sold out arena and unfortunately lost, but E.C. recalls “a good time was had by all.”

In 1957, Smith put together his own team of talented basketball players and invited the Globetrotters to come to Big Spring, TX to play. They accepted the offer and arrangements were made to host the event in the Big Spring High School gymnasium. Smith remembers when he and his teammate decided to make an attempt to take the ball away from Marques Haynes, a move that proved to be a mistake. Haynes was on his knees and at one point, rolled completely over and still managed to maintain possession of the ball, gaining a big response from the crowd. Again, Smith’s team lost, but the event was a big success and now a favorite memory of Smith.

Smith now resides Elgin, Texas with his wife Patricia. They have a total of 26 grand and great grandchildren, many of whom live in the Austin area. On behalf of The Harlem Globetrotters and the Frank Erwin Center, we thank Mr. Smith for his great service to our country!

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4 Comments

  1. E.C. and Patricia Smith · January 27, 2015

    On behalf of our family, we want to thank the Globetrotters and the Erwin Center for the recent honor of being named Hometown Hero. We want to especially thank Ms. Laura Bennett, Publicist, who was the young lady who arranged all of this. She was so very kind, thoughtful and helpful throughout the process. All the team and the players were so friendly and made us feel very special. Thank you to everyone who had a part in this honor. This will be a favorite memory of our family for years to come. We think all the things the Globetrotters do to make our world a better place is amazing and unusual in this day and time, especially for an organization so popular. They don’t have to do the outreach work to be the icon that they are, but they do it from a sincere desire to give back and we truly appreciate them and all the people involved in their organization. The E.C . Smith family.

  2. Rebecca · January 28, 2015

    Very proud of you E.C.

  3. Vicky · January 28, 2015

    Nice Daddy-O! Thank you for your service. I love you.

  4. dave boddington · January 30, 2015

    Mr. Smith, “E.C.”- wonderful article and thanks for your service!

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