Amos the Wonder Horse and his B-Ball Beat
"There’s an NBA lockout right now. We could replace them all with horses." - Steve Doocy, Fox & Friends
By Mitchell Pellecchia
It seemed simple enough. Upload crazy and amazing basketball shots to the Harlem Globetrotters Facebook page and the public votes. How much easier could it be to enter a horse into the Globetrotter Nation H.O.R.S.E competition, especially if your horse plays basketball?
As it turns out the competition wasn’t for horses. But that’s not why Shelly Mizrahi of Boca Raton and her 3-foot tall miniature horse, Amos, were turned away. No, the fact that Amos couldn’t play with a regulation size ball or hoop was the disqualifying clincher – not that he was four-legged foal. Regardless, a publicity director at the Globetrotters invited Amos for a meet-up in Miami. Globetrotter Anthony “Buckets” Blake said the kids got a real kick out of him. “You can just imagine the look on their faces. They were impressed. I don’t think they had ever seen anything like Amos before,” Buckets told Life Publications.
Mizrahi and “Amos the Wonder Horse” have been on the road together for over a year now. He was a Craigslist equine from a loving home that couldn’t have him anymore. Mizrahi, with a lifelong love for the animals and nearly 20 years of public relations and event planning under her belt, found that Amos was her next big thing. “He’s like a culmination of everything I’ve done. From show horses to working with kids and adults with disabilities, Amos fit in with my family, my passion and my future. Like it was meant to be,” she said.
Amos has “slam dunked” on national TV on the Today Show and Fox & Friends, and has worked with the Globetrotters wowing kids with medical disorders. He tweets, has a Facebook page and makes his living appearing at birthday parties, visiting special needs children, veterans and the elderly. As a means of giving back to the community, the miniature horse volunteers at Personal Ponies, a Boca Raton non-profit dedicated to putting smiles on the faces of specially-enabled children. “He’s definitely a busy horse,” said Mizrahi, adding she hopes to meet up with the Globetrotters this year during their anti-bullying tour. “They’re visiting 300 schools nationwide over four months and preaching the ABCs of bullying.”
Action, Bravery and Compassion (ABC) is the message Blake and the Globetrotters are delivering to elementary and middle school students in their You Write the Rules World Tour, celebrating the team’s 87th consecutive year on the court. “We’re telling kids they have to speak up if they see someone getting bullied – tell a teacher or principal. That’s Action. Bravery means don’t laugh or join in – be brave and resist! Compassion is about caring for your fellow student or teammate. The goal is when we leave the schools the kids become our messengers and spread the anti-bullying word,” he said. In an essay writing program called “Do the Write Thing” sponsored by the National Campaign to Stop Violence, students have identified bullying as the number one cause of violence in their schools, said Blake.
Though it’s unclear whether Amos, now 12-years-old, will be working with the Globetrotters this year, Mizrahi looks back at the NBA lockout of 2011 when professional B-ball came to a halt. “Amos and the Globetrotters were the only players on the court for months,” she said. “It’s kind of like he made history.” The morning Amos appeared on Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy agreed. “There’s an NBA lockout right now. We could replace them all with horses,” he announced jokingly on the air. As far as the Globetrotters, Blake said the lockout year was one of the best in history for Globetrotter ticket sales. “We’re not an NBA team so it [the lockout] didn’t affect us. But now that you mention it, it looks like it may have helped,” he said.
During the lockout, Amos addressed a letter to NBA (National Basketball Association) players and owners. “You do realize that I’m a 3’ tall horse that plays basketball, right? If I can do that, then certainly we can all work out our differences. I mean, I have no thumbs and slam dunk with my mouth. Seriously,” he wrote.
In addition to shooting hoops, for which he won the “Quest for the Best: Pet Trick” on NBC’s Today Show, Amos paints abstracts and plays xylophone. Moreover, he runs a website called Palm Beach Pony Company based in Boca Raton where the curious can learn more about him. What’s the difference between a miniature horse and a pony? Minis are bred to be just like regular size horses, said Mizrahi, just smaller with everything similarly proportioned to a full-sized horse. She said, video birthday cards of Amos are hot right now.
Last year, Buckets Blake made Amos an honorary goodwill ambassador for his work in the community with special needs kids. When asked if Globetrotter wins are decided prior to game time – a question I always wondered as a kid - Buckets said “No way.” In the past 87 years the Globetrotters have lost 345 games and knowing when to score points is the toughest part of the job.
“You have to know when to play serious basketball and when to play the crowd and make people laugh. But even when we don’t win on the court we always win in the hearts of our fans and the kids who come see us,” he said.