SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the birthplace of basketball next month.

The Harlem Globetrotters are known for their fun tricks and entertainment but as player Shane “Scooter” Christensen told 22News, the team played an important role in desegregation decades ago.

“There was one point when we would play for an all African American crowd, then an all white crowd. Then all of a sudden as we kept going, we see the two races standing next to each other, laughing at the same thing. They were looking at each other saying, ‘Man, we’re not so different,'” said Scooter.

The Globetrotter’s contributions to Black history were on display at the Basketball Hall of Fame to preview the team’s “Spread Game” tour that begins next month.

“Basketball was really steam rolling to integration about the mid 1940s. By 1950, the monolithic NBA was integrated. That’s a direct result of the Harlem Globetrotters,” said Matt Zeysing, Curator at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Harlem Globetrotters will be coming the MassMutual Center on February 11th.