We’ve seen how local athletes on the Quad City United team have given back to the community in their inaugural season. But it was a long road for each player to get there.
One of the team stars, Devan Douglas, has played professional basketball since he was 23, when he was signed by the well-known Harlem Globetrotters.
Douglas is known for his impressive dunks. He overcame a lot of adversity in his life, and he used that to fuel his confidence.
The game of basketball was what led Douglas down the right path after he got into trouble during his youth.
“Those guys … you know what they do,” he said. “All the tricks and stuff, so it’s just a lot of good stuff. It’s just a day full of surprises every day and a great experience because those guys are all great guys, too.”
Catching the eye of the world-famous Globetrotters is no easy task. But Clinton native Devan Douglas put himself on the map at 23 years old by winning a national dunk contest. That drew the attention of many professional teams.
“I got the call after I won the dunk contest,” he said. “There was a lot of calls actually, professional teams and stuff, but my mind wasn’t made up then around that time.”
After the dunk contest, tragedy struck for Douglas when his mom passed away. It was at that time in his life the Globetrotters were there for him.
In his professional career, Douglas had made a habit of posterizing the opposition on dunks, and he continued to put on a show with the Globetrotters.
“I was recruited as a dunker and there was just some wild dunks I didn’t think I was going to catch one night, and then I just ended up catching them,” he said. “Like it would be way out over my head and I’ll catch it right here and slam it and the crowd would go wild.”
Douglas had many once-in-a-lifetime experiences with the Globetrotters. But there’s one trip out of the county that is more memorable to him than the others.
“We played in Paris in front of like 20,000 fans,” Douglas said. “It was crazy – like the bus when we were trying to leave they were crowding the bus. Little kids running around with no shoes kicking soccer balls and stuff like that. It was just basically things you see on TV I got to experience.”