Orlando Melendez News Archive

Orlando 'El Gato' Melendez enjoys entertaining fans with Harlem Globetrotters

Orlando Melendez became the first native of Puerto Rico to sign with the Harlem Globetrotters. A former University of North Carolina player who was part of Final Four teams in 1998 and 2000, Melendez signed with the Globetrotters in 2008. As a child, he first thought the Globetrotters were merely cartoon characters that appeared on a Scooby-Doo episode.

Globetrotter Orlando Melendez visits young Ohio fire victim

Orlando Melendez's basketball career has taken him through more than 70 different countries. But five days before he and the Harlem Globetrotters are set to storm Huntington, the Puerto Rican power forward known as "El Gato" traveled to the quiet stretch of Burlington, Ohio, on Friday to surprise a second-grade girl who's already had an extraordinary 2018.

Globetrotter Orlando Melendez feels for his native Puerto Rico

Listen. The noise that accompanies fear and death. “It was like having a 747 in front of your house for 30 hours.” This is how Hurricane Maria sounded to 39-year-old Harlem Globetrotter Orlando Melendez (“El Gato”), who had returned to his native Puerto Rico for a vacation last September after entertaining so many countries with the team’s basketball antics.

Harlem Globetrotter Orlando Melendez visits sick children at Santa Barbara hospital

A member of the Harlem Globetrotters brought more than just basketball skills to pediatric patients at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. Orlando "El Gato" Melendez showed off his moves and brought smiles to their faces. "It got a child out of bed," said Child Life Specialist Jaynie Wood. Melendez said being a Globetrotter is not just about playing basketball.

Harlem Globetrotter Orlando 'El Gato' Melendez inspires students

"Find what you love and do it well," said Orlando Melendez, 37, who earned his nickname, "El Gato", as a kid when cats followed him to his native Puerto Rican court. "Think, 'What am I doing now that will get me there?'" St. Anthony's was the first of several schools Melendez will visit before the Globetrotters perform at Ford Arena as part of an educational and anti-bullying initiative.

Orlando Melendez Enjoying Life as a Harlem Globetrotter

Orlando Melendez looks forward to coming back to Charlottesville for Thursday’s Harlem Globetrotters game at John Paul Jones Arena in the time-honored red, white and blue, but he said local ACC fans may remember him in a different jersey. “I’ve been around Cavalier country for a long time,” said Melendez, who wore Carolina blue while playing for UNC.

Basketball and interior design? Globetrotter ‘El Gato’ Melendez does it all

Puerto Rican born and raised Orlando Melendez, also known as "El Gato" ("The Cat"), first discovered the Harlem Globetrotters by watching the "Harlem Globetrotters" and the "New Scooby-Doo Movies". But the 6-foot-8-inch, 220-pound 36-year-old forward didn't see the team play live until he joined the Globetrotters for the 2007-08 season after playing at North Carolina.

Orlando Melendez adds a new country to Globetrotters' resume

During his [UNC] campus visit, Orlando Melendez played some pickup games with several Tar Heels, including Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter. They heard "El Gato" could jump a little bit, so Carter issued a challenge. "Orlando goes first, and throws down some monster dunk, I don't even know what he did," Church says. "And Vince just walked off the floor and said, 'You win.'"

Orlando Melendez a perfect fit for Globetrotters

Last month, Orlando Melendez, former UNC Tar Heel and journeyman pro, became the first Puerto Rican born player to sign with the Harlem Globetrotters. 'El Gato,' might just help his new team more than he ever helped the Tar Heels. "You need to have three things to be a Globetrotter," said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider. "You need to be a great basketball player, a great person and a great entertainer." Orlando is all three of those things.

Orlando Melendez adds a new country to Globetrotters' resume

Orlando Melendez, 29, is not the first Latino to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. That honor goes to Orlando Antigua, the Dominican Republic native who starred and later coached at Pittsburgh before joining John Calipari's staff at Memphis earlier this year. Current Globetrotter Kevin "Special K" Daley was born in Panama. But the Puerto Rican distinction is important to Melendez. "I'm the first Puerto Rican to be here."

Orlando Melendez Joins Harlem Globetrotters

The World Famous Harlem Globetrotters have signed the first Puerto Rican-born player in the team’s storied history, inking 6-8 dunking sensation Orlando “El Gato” Melendez. El Gato, a native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and a former North Carolina Tar Heel, will join four other Globetrotter rookies as the team opens training camp in New York on Monday, Sept. 29.

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