It was a long shot for Alex Del Barrio.
The University of Texas-Pan American alumnus randomly sent out an audition tape to the Harlem Globetrotters to become one of their announcers. The gamble landed Del Barrio the ideal job for a sports fanatic as the newest voice of the legendary basketball team.
"I sent them a reel with no job posting. I sent my reel to a lot of stations, agents, other organizations like WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) looking for any future openings or opportunities," Del Barrio said. "They (the Globetrotters organization) responded several weeks later and asked me for some additional material."
The 2008 UTPA communications graduate then began researching the team. He worked relentlessly and pieced together a new résumé tape. Three weeks later, he got the call he had been waiting for. Del Barrio will be one of only three public address announcers for the Globetrotters' whirlwind domestic tour around the U.S. and Canada.
"Wherever it may be, so long as I am working in sports and doing what I do best, I am living out my dreams. I am thrilled to be working for the Harlem Globetrotters, but I would be lying if I didn't think of every job along the way as a dream job at the time," Del Barrio said.
The Mission native got his start in the broadcasting industry in 2004 when he was still a student at Boston University (BU). At only 20 years old, Del Barrio was selected to be the play-by-play broadcaster for the Edinburg Roadrunners baseball team. The career opportunity brought him back to the Rio Grande Valley.
"It was an experience of a lifetime as I travelled with a professional baseball team, one that set all kinds of records and ended up winning the league championship," Del Barrio said. "I even got a championship ring for being a part of the organization."
Del Barrio also did an assortment of play-calling at BU, broadcasting sports like soccer, lacrosse and hockey on student radio. His first professional opportunity with the Roadrunners paved the way for him to later become the voice of the UTPA Broncs and Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA D-League) basketball teams. Fred Mann, Bronc Radio adviser and UTPA communications lecturer, said he is not surprised that Del Barrio was hand-picked by the Globetrotters.
"Alex has paid his dues in the industry more than tenfold with his play-by-play of numerous Bronc volleyball, basketball and baseball games. He is an outstanding announcer who never went unprepared to a game," Mann said.
Del Barrio is a familiar face in the Valley. He was the sports anchor for Fox 2 News and a frequent sports contributor for Action 4 News. He also did a stint with KSOX-1240 AM radio where he hosted a live call-in sports show.
"The Globetrotters are a very professional organization with a lot of rules in place and I think working for such professional people and organizations along the way prepared me for understanding how to earn your stripes when you come to a new place," said Del Barrio. "They hire you for a reason, but don't try to get too big for your britches when you get there."
The Harlem Globetrotters is an exhibition basketball team that combines acting, athleticism and humor on the court. The celebrated team began performing in 1926 in Chicago. Over the years they have played more than 20,000 exhibition games in 118 countries. Del Barrio's run with the squad begins Dec. 26 and continues into mid-April. There will also be some international shows on his agenda, but that schedule will come at a later date.
"I was very excited when the offer came and it was a nice boost to my confidence that I was capable of taking my talents to the next level. I was being recognized with a world-wide brand," Del Barrio said.
Del Barrio has already begun intense preparation to be a broadcaster for the renowned organization. He attended a two-week training camp in Long Island, N.Y. to learn about all the components of the entertaining games and the players' over-the-top performances. Del Barrio said he plans to embrace every minute.
"If you have a dream, whatever it is, shoot for it. However, be prepared to make sacrifices. People along the way will help you, but there will also be people there to tell you that it won't be possible," Del Barrio said. "Whatever you want to do in life, go after it no matter what. If you don't, you will always wonder, 'What if?'"