Wayne grad pursuing Hollywood dream after stint with Globetrotters

Evin Bartlett played for Travis Trice at Wayne and was a 1,000-point scorer at Ohio Christian University

Any basketball fan can recognize the Harlem Globetrotters uniform at a distance: white shorts with red stripes; blue jersey top with red and blue lettering; small, gold stars throughout the ensemble.

Evin Bartlett, a 2012 Wayne High School graduate, knows the look well.

“It’s very iconic,” Bartlett said, “and it holds a little more weight to me.”

Bartlett played 4½ years for the Globetrotters, from 2017 until last December. He traveled around the country, playing in almost every NBA arena and living a dream he first had as a kid.

“My first professional basketball game ever was actually a Globetrotter game,” Bartlett said. “My uncle, who currently lives in New York, bought me and my brother all the Globetrotters gear — the jerseys, the headbands, the wristbands, the basketball. To be able to put that jersey on, it was surreal. It brought back memories of my first game. Being a Globetrotter, it’s a legacy. You’re showing the world that you can play basketball, and as African American in the game, being with the Globetrotters, it changes everything. Putting that jersey on, it brings a community together. It brings basketball and entertainment together. It puts smiles on people’s faces. It brightens up everybody’s day. That’s something they value: making a change in someone’s life, being there for people, especially in the hard times. During COVID, the Globetrotters being there was a perfect thing. It allowed the families to reunite again and be there for each other.”

Bartlett’s basketball career prepared him for life with the Globetrotters. His dad Kevin started an AAU team. He played at Studebaker Middle School for former Dayton Flyers forward Steve Pittman. He then played for Travis Trice Sr. at Wayne.

Bartlett was a role player at Wayne, where he averaged 5.1 points in 21 games as a senior in the 2011-12 season. Travis Trice Jr., who later starred at Michigan State, was the star of that team, averaging 23.5 points per game.

“I didn’t get a lot of time,” Bartlett said, “but the time that I did get, I made the best of it. I continued to work hard. I woke up every morning at 6 a.m. to work out with my dad just because I loved the game so much. I dedicated a lot of time into it. I wanted it to be a career.”

Bartlett found more playing time at the college level with Ohio Christian University in Circleville. He played for former Ohio State guard Tony Stockman, who was Ohio’s Mr. Basketball in 2000. Bartlett was the starting point guard for Ohio Christian when it won the National Christian College Athletic Conference Division II national championships in 2013, when he was a freshman, and in 2014.

Bartlett had 11 points and four assists in his first national championship game appearance as Ohio Christian beat Arlington Baptist 73-62. He had five assists and three points a year later in the final game. The same teams met, and Ohio Christian won 91-69.

“When I first got to Ohio Christian, coach Stockman wasn’t sure,” Bartlett said. “Me being (5-8), he wasn’t sold right away. But what they say is don’t judge a book by its cover, and he didn’t. He gave me a chance. He was a new coach in his first year, so he was looking to give anybody a chance, and he gave me an opportunity to play.”

Stockman thought about redshirting Bartlett that first year, but he proved he could play and also turned into a leader. He was named a co-captain as a freshman. That was the start of a productive career that saw him reach the 1,000-point milestone in January of 2016, his final season.

“He has put in a lot of work and has got better each year,” Stockman said then. “It will be sad to see him go.”

Bartlett praised his mom, Deidra, for teaching him at a young age he could be anything he wanted to be. Despite his height, he started dunking right before his college career began. That helped him catch the eye of the Globetrotters later.

In 2017, Bartlett was working out, hoping to find a team overseas when a trainer asked him if he’d be interested in trying out for the Globetrotters. He met Globetrotters coach Jimmy Blacklock at a workout at TD Garden in Boston.

“His initial reaction when he looked at me for the first time and saw my height was, ‘I thought we were getting a dunker,’” Bartlett said. “I was like, ‘I’ve got something to show you.’ The very next day, we had practice in the morning, and he quickly quickly changed his opinion of me.”

All the Globetrotters have nicknames. Bartlett’s was “Baller.”

“My main role was a dribbling specialist,” he said. “They used me for everything: the 4-point shot, dunks. They allowed me to showcase my skills, and that’s one thing that they’re really good at. They bring people along and they allow a person to individually showcase their skills at a certain time.”

Bartlett’s time with the Globetrotters ended when he decided to devote all his time to trying to make it in Los Angeles as an actor. He has worked in commercials for ESPN, Facebook, Foot Locker, Google and the Jordan Brand. He was one of the Globetrotters featured in a GEICO commercial in 2021. He has done work as a model for Vogue Magazine.

Bartlett even worked on “Space Jam 2,” assisting with motion capture. This happened in the middle of a season with the Globetrotters. He had to buy his own ticket to fly to Los Angeles and then had to earn the job by showcasing his dribbling skills for the directors on set. They showed LeBron James, the star of the movie, his pitch, and he got the job.

Bartlett got to meet James, Klay Thompson and a number of NBA stars.

“A lot of the elite players would come there just to be on set, and some of them were actually a part of the movie as well,” he said. “It was pretty dope. You watch those guys on TV. You follow those guys. They become legends in our field. So being able to meet them was like a dream come true.”

Bartlett feels he’s moving in the right direction in Hollywood. He knows it’s a tricky field. He’s always enjoyed entertaining people, dancing, making people laugh. His family pushed him to give it a try. He uses his social media accounts (@evinbartlett on Instagram and Everything Evin on YouTube) and website, EvinBartlett.com, to build his brand.

“I’ve seen the competitive side of acting,” Bartlett said, “and it reminded me of basketball. There are people who have been doing this forever and people who are practicing over and over again and and they’re going out for the same roles and you have to beat somebody out, which is similar to basketball. I saw that, and it gave me drive and motivation and inspiration to do that.”

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