The Professional Loser


You could say that Shawn Faust is a professional loser. As a player and coach of the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters' opponents, he hasn't known the thrill of victory a single time in his five years on the squad.

You could say that Shawn Faust is a professional loser. As a player and coach of the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters' opponents, he hasn't known the thrill of victory a single time in his five years on the squad. In fact, the last time the Generals upset the Globetrotters was in 1971, before Faust was even born. He and the rest of the team will try three times at their stop at the Target Center to disrupt the Globetrotters' record of more than 22,500 wins (and 345 losses) in over 80 years.

City Pages:How many games to do the Generals play against the Globetrotters each year? Shawn Faust:Usually we do a four-month U.S. tour and it's around 120 games. Then we go overseas and do another 50 or 60 in Europe, then we go to South America. We go all over the world, so it's well over 200 games a year, easy.

CP:How did you end up playing for the Generals? SF:I got invited to a pro-combine in Orlando, FL when I got out of college, so I went down for the weekend and played. There were a bunch of different players and scouts and agents everywhere looking at players. So then it's just a matter of playing well, doing the right thing on the right day at the right time in front of the right person. I've been here for five years.

The Generals' logo says it all.

CP:How does playing against the Globetrotters compare to playing college basketball or other pro basketball? SF:Well, it's a professional setting, so it's going to be way different from college. It's a professional game so it's faster, it's stronger. I like it a lot more than the college setting.


CP:As a player/coach, how do you prepare to play the same team day in and day out? Do you review game tape and study your opponent like other pro basketball teams? SF:I'm kind of the leader and mentor of the other guys out here. The thing of it is, you have to reassure them that yeah, it's tough to win. We go out, we play hard, we really go after it. But they have to understand that once you do get that one win, everything will shut down, it will be ridiculous to be part of something like beating the Globetrotters. So that always keeps the flame going. We talk, we work on our own games, and practice if we get time to do it. A lot of the time we just get to the city and show up and play. It's a fun gig though; I will say that.

CP:The Globetrotters' claim that the games are real and competitive, but they've only lost 345 games in 81 years. Can you understand why fans are skeptical when they're told that the games are competitive? SF:I mean, you know, the last time we won in 1971. The Globetrotters have their entertainment stuff and they do their tricks and that's what they do. But they are good basketball players too. We do go at it. We do play, we're out to make shots and try to beat them. I've been around five years and never missed a shot on purpose or anything like that. So we do play, they just have good, talented players. We just have to bring it. Hopefully one of these times we'll just bring it and maybe get that win.

CP:Does losing ever get old? SF:I'm a competitive guy, and nobody likes to lose. I think that all the losses that I've taken over my five years, and the losses the newer guys are getting right now will definitely go away if we do get that one win. Hopefully it's coming soon. Really though, it's all about the experience. We get to travel everywhere. We're going all over the United States, all over the world. I've been to all 50 states and I've been to over 60 countries. So, I mean, that's another priceless experience that comes with it. So I think that all that good outweighs all the losses.

CP:Are you hopeful that your current lineup will ever beat the Globetrotters? SF:Yeah, I mean last night's game we only lost by six. We've lost by three before on this tour. We've lost by one before, two or three years before. So, it is doable. It really is.

CP:But you'd figure even a good team like the Globetrotters would lose more often than 345 times in 81 years. Why is it so hard for the Generals to beat them? SF:That's a good question. In all my years, we've come close; we gone after it, but we just keep coming up short for some reason. You know, I'm a basketball guy too, and it's as real as it gets. We just go out and play hard every night. Tonight might be that night. You never know.

CP:Are the Generals' players well compensated for playing and losing? SF:Yeah, it's decent. But it's more about the experience of going all over the world playing against probably the most known team in the world. So, it's more about being part of something really cool and really special and trying to be part of something even more special: beating them.

Tonight might be the night! But probably not. See Shawn and his scrappy band of ballers go down in flames today at 1 and 7 p.m. at Target Center.