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Pope Francis ups his game, becomes honorary Globetrotter

By Amy R. Connolly

VATICAN CITY, May 6 (UPI) -- Pope Francis can add one more accolade to his long list of achievements: honorary Harlem Globetrotter.

The 78-year-old pontiff, a noted soccer fan, met the basketball troupe in St. Peter's Square and showed off his basketball-spinning skills with the help of Herbert "Flight Time" Lang and other team members.

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The Globetrotters gave the pope a red, white and blue jersey with the name "Pope Francis" and the number 90 in commemoration of the team's 90th anniversary.

"We are very humbled by the opportunity to bestow this honor upon Pope Francis," Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said in a written statement. "His tireless work for the well-being of the poor and elderly, his humanitarian efforts and his commitment to bridge gaps between people of various cultures are ways the Harlem Globetrotters also aspire to touch lives around the world. He embodies the Globetrotters' efforts to provide service, smiles and sportsmanship globally."

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In 2000, the Globetrotters bestowed Pope St. John Paul II with the same honor.

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