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LibbyMt.com > News > September 2005 > Good Things Come in Small Packages

Harlem Ambassadors. Photo by Harlem Ambassadors.
Harlem Ambassadors
K. B. Buckner, the only woman on the court with the Harlem Ambassadors, coming to Libby September 30th. Photo courtesy Libby Chamber of Commerce.
Good Things Come in Small Packages
K.B. Buckner stars for Harlem Ambassadors
September 12, 2005

Three things are certain when the Harlem Ambassadors take the court. One, itís a certainty that that the dunks will be spectacular. Two, it is certain that the ball handling tricks will be amazing. And three, it is equally certain that the eyes of the fans will be following the smallest player and only woman on the court: K. B. Buckner.

The Harlem Ambassadors will be coming to the Libby High School Gym on Friday, September 30th at 7 pm, sponsored by the Libby Area Chamber of Commerce.

This season K.B. is in her third season as the "show-player" for the Harlem Ambassadors "Stars & Stripes" squad. But donít let the title "show-player" fool you; this woman can play ball. K.B. polished her basketball chops at Hardin-Simmons University in Wichita Falls, Texas, leading the Cowgirls to the NCAA Tournament. Her slick ball-handling skills and her relentless defense earned her All-American honors.

In her first season with the Ambassadors, Buckner learned a whole new way to play basketball with the help of LadŤ Majic, the Ambassadorsí original show player and the Queen of Show basketball. "Itís not as easy as it looks," said K.B. "It took me awhile to get used to the pace of the show, having to stop for the skits and the games. It only took a couple of weeks to pick up the lines and learn the show. It took a little longer to learn that I had to be a leader out there on the floor."

An Ambassadors show features a variety of skits and interactive games that involve players on the opposing team and members of the audience. Because the Ambassadors play against local teams every night, there is an element of improvisation that gives the show its unpredictable flavor. K.B. is chiefly responsible for bringing it all together. And she does it all with charming Texas twang. ďIíve got to make sure the rest of the guys on the team remember their lines and are in the right places at the right times,Ē K.B. said.

While hamming it up with the referee and leading interactive games with audience members are main job requirements for the "show player," K.B. still has to play a little basketball while sheís out there. And nothing has been better for her game then practicing every day with a bunch of guys that are at least a foot taller than she is. "My entire game has improved," she said. "Iím quicker, Iím jumping higher and Iím making better shots. I think that Iíll continue to get better as long as Iím playing here."

K.B. and the Ambassadors often dominate the opposing teams. While her teammates punish the rims with their high-flying dunks and frustrate the home team with multitudes of blocked shots, K.B. adds a lethal jumper to the mix and is a quick to steal the ball from opponents. But in the name of true sportsmanship, the Ambassadors have never been opposed to spotting the home team a couple of points here or there.

Aside from traveling all over the world and playing basketball for a living, K.B. was also drawn to working with kids the positive message that the Ambassadors promote. The Ambassadors offer assembly programs to the communities that host their shows in which they appear at local schools and talk about the importance of staying in school and staying off of drugs. The Ambassadors also welcome hundreds of children onto the floor every night to participate in the show. "My degree is in education and itís always been a goal of mine to work with kids," she said. "Now I get to work with people of all ages."

LibbyMt.com > News > September 2005 > Good Things Come in Small Packages
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