RELIGION

Pope Francis Meets Harlem Globetrotters, Tries Out His Ball-Spinning Moves

05/07/2015 11:34 am ET | Updated May 07, 2015

Pope Francis is officially a baller -- and he has his very own basketball jersey to prove it.

The pontiff met with Harlem Globetrotters in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, who gifted him a framed jersey with the number 90 and his name, "Pope Francis," written on it.

The basketball entertainers even taught -- or attempted to teach -- the pope how to spin a basketball on his finger.

pope francis globetrotters

Pope Francis had sports on his mind again the following day when he spoke in front of athletes, coaches, fans and team owners of the Lazio Sports Society, an Italian athletics association.

“Sometimes it happens that a boy or girl forgets about Mass, catechism because of work-outs and competition. This is not a good sign," the pontiff said, according to Catholic News Service.

But he also encouraged participation in sports as a way of teaching children “self-control, sacrifice and loyalty toward others."

Pope Francis now has a soccer jersey and a basketball jersey with his name on it. We would guess that a football jersey from the Philadelphia Eagles could be next, except that the team will be decidedly out of town when the pope rolls in for a visit in September.

Scroll down for photos of Pope Francis kicking it with the Harlem Globetrotters:

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Harlem Globetrotters' Hi-Lite Bruton, second from left, Ant Atitkson, third from left, look at teammate Flight Time Lang, right, helping Pope Francis spin the ball on his finger as they meet during the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Harlem Globetrotters' Hi-Lite Bruton, second from left, Ant Atitkson, third from left, Pope Francis, Flight Time Lang and Big Easy Lofton pose for a family picture as they meet during the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Harlem Globetrotters' Flight Time Lang, right, helps Pope Francis spin the ball on his finger as they meet during the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Harlem Globetrotters' Hi-Lite Bruton, left, Ant Atitkson, second from left, Big Easy Lofton, second from right, look at teammate Flight Time Lang, right, helping Pope Francis spin the ball on his finger as they meet during the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
  • ANDREAS SOLARO via Getty Images
    Members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball play with a ball before the arrival of Pope Francis for his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on May 6, 2015 at the Vatican.
  • ANDREAS SOLARO via Getty Images
    Members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team look at Pope Francis as he arrives for his weekly general audience at St Peter's square on May 6, 2015 at the Vatican.

Also on HuffPost:

Pope Francis' Best Photos
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS