When Zeus McClurkin was a little kid, he hoped one day to hold a Guinness world record. There was just one problem.
"Everything was so outlandish," he said. "I never thought I'd be able to grow really long nails or something like that."
As it turned out, all McClurkin had to do was get really good at basketball and become a member of the Harlem Globetrotters to get his chance at world-record fame.
Becoming a Globetrotter isn't easy, of course. It takes talent and a certain personality to join the team — efforts that will be on display Saturday when the Globetrotters play a pair of games at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Target Center.
But once you make it to the Globetrotters, the Guinness folks apparently come looking for you.
"Every year, Guinness reaches out and asks if we have any world records we think we can break," McClurkin said.
His teammates recently nominated him for two of them: most dunks in a minute and most three-pointers made in one minute, with one catch — he had to bounce the basketball on the ground as part of the shot.
McClurkin is proud to say that he now holds the two records. He bounced in five three-pointers in one minute. And he dunked 16 times in one minute.
"I had to run back to free throw line and dribble between every dunk attempt," the 6-8 McClurkin said. "I thought all I had to do was go up and down. I could do about 30 of those."
He's a trick shot artist on a team full of them. As part of his tour of the Twin Cities this week in advance of Saturday's games, McClurkin also made a bunch of outlandish shots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Last year, he made a shot as he zip-lined through Mall of America.
That's not bad, especially for someone with more humble basketball origins. McClurkin, a native of Columbus, Ohio, said he was cut from every basketball team he tried out for between sixth and 10th grade.
After a 5-inch growth spurt, he finally made the cut — and went on to play in college as well, finishing his career as a walk-on at North Carolina A&T. From there, he still had to pay his dues to make it to the Globetrotters.
"I used to play against them for the Washington Generals," McClurkin said of the team known for always losing to its more famous counterparts. "That was my introduction to the Globetrotters. I saw them on Scooby-Doo, but I didn't realize they were a real thing."
Now he couldn't imagine doing anything else.
"Growing up my coaches all said I was too soft and too nice when it came to playing basketball. If I fouled you I would apologize. My coaches didn't really like that about me," he said. "But that's exactly what the Globetrotters pay me to do — to be myself and put smiles on people's faces."
And break records.