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He was the original Biggest Loser

Red Klotz was the main target of Globetrotters shenanigans.

Red Klotz was the main target of Globetrotters shenanigans.

MARGATE, N.J. — Louis "Red" Klotz, the basketball barn­stormer who owned the Washington Generals team that lost an estimated 15,000 games to the Harlem Globetrotters, died in his sleep Saturday at 93.

Mr. Klotz formed a working relationship with the Globetrotters by putting together a permanent opponent who almost always lost. In a statement on the Globetrotters website, CEO Kurt Schneider said Mr. Klotz helped bring basketball and smiles to fans worldwide. He said Mr. Klotz was "a legend and a global treasure."

"The Generals made history," Mr. Klotz said in 2006. "It had absolutely nothing to do with being the losingest team in the history of world. We played in 117 countries. We were pioneers."

Mr. Klotz played on title-winning basketball teams in high school and an undefeated college team, and played one season with the championship-winning Baltimore Bullets in 1948.

The Globetrotters regularly yanked down his shorts, bounced balls off his head and mimicked his set shot.

"I got involved in that stuff mainly to take it away from my players," Mr. Klotz said. "I wanted them to play ball and not feel like they were going to be humiliated."

The son of a Jewish carpenter from Russia, Mr. Klotz discovered basketball at South Philadelphia's Thomas Junior High.

Mr. Klotz played with the Generals until he was 68, then became their full-time coach. He played regularly into his 90s.

Survivors include his wife of 72 years, Gloria; children, Ronnee (Ron) Groff; Chuck; Glenn (Lori); Kiki (Peter); Jodi (John) Ferrara; Kenneth (Kathleen); 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Plans for a Life Celebration will be announced soon.

He was the original Biggest Loser 07/14/14 [Last modified: Monday, July 14, 2014 9:14pm]
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