Globe-trotting the Middle East

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It probably doesn't feel much like basketball season to the troops in Iraq and other hot Middle Eastern cities, but that should change right after Thanksgiving. Because that's when the fabled Harlem Globetrotters hit the area in a 21-day, 12-city tour with stops in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Djibouti. Owner and former college ball star Mannie Jackson plans to lead 10 members of his team into the area, where they'll play some games, shoot hoops, and conduct "meet and greets" with the troops. The Globetrotters even plan to perform on an aircraft carrier. The team has a long history of entertaining the troops; this will be the third straight year the team has visited troops right before Christmas.

While it's a long trip, we're assured that the team will return home for the regular U.S.-Canada tour kicking off on December 26. It's called the "2007 North American Harlem Globetrotter Nothing Like It Tour" and hits 193 cities.

Below are exclusive photos from their 2005 military tour: