Honduras, as it tries to curb the highest homicide rate in the world, faces its fair share of threatening circumstances. But death by backboard had probably never seemed like a possibility until last Thursday. Harlem Globetrotter William “Bill” Bullard almost suffered that fate at an event in Tegucigalpa. The renowned U.S. exhibition team was carrying out one of its trademark, theatrical slam dunks when the backboard support gave way during Bullard’s high-flying dunk.
Bullard hung on to the rim as the structure crashed down on top of him, and shattered glass across the court. The backboard popped him in the forehead, leaving a bloody gash. But besides that Bullard appeared unharmed.
The Honduran periodical El Heraldo reported that Bullard remained motionless for a few minutes on the court while teammates and officials attended to him. The medical staff brought out a stretcher, but Bullard never needed it.
Fortunately, he seemed to be a good sport about the incident. Bullard gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he walked off the court with a towel covering the wound on his head. Honduran basketball fans gave him an admiring ovation. After getting bandaged up, Bullard returned to salute the crowd. He greeted fans in their stands and signed autographs. Meanwhile, without a replacement hoop, the Globetrotters completed their act with a half-court game on the one basket still standing.
The Globetrotters were in Honduras as part of a Central America tour. They wrapped up the leg with games in Costa Rica and El Salvador over the weekend.
Matt Levin is a correspondent for The Tico Times