The lineup in the first game for the Globetrotters featured Andy Washington, Willis "Kid" Oliver, Walter "Toots" Wright, Byron "Fat" Long, and Al "Runt" Pullins, the team split up $75 for the first game. They went onto play 117 games that first year winning 101 of them. Sapserstein was not only an owner and a coach he was a tireless promoter who even was known to play as a substitute in games the Globetrotters were playing. In less than ten years the team played in more than a 1,000 games in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, as well as, North and South Dakota. Ironically, it wouldn't be until the late 60's that they played an actual game in Harlem.
The Globetrotters participated in the World Professional Basketball Tournament on a yearly basis, winning it in 1940. That same year they won the championship, the team incorporated on court antics to their game. They would do everything from juggling acts to over the top shots that thrilled everyone in attendance. With the sideshow becoming a hit with the crowds, Saperstein told his players to keep it up as long as they had a comfortable lead. It would become part of what the Globetrotters are today.
In 1948 the Globetrotters gained respect by beating the Minneapolis Lakers of the newly formed NBA. By 1950 the NBA decided to allow black players in the league which made Saperstein have to compete for his talent. They not only were able to keep talented players around they became an international sensation becoming true Globetrotters as they traveled the world, even performing for the Pope in Rome.