You can mock Nate “Big Easy” Lofton all you want for not being able to unscramble five letters to spell “Franz” last night. But the truth is we’ll all miss him and Herb “Flight Time” Lang in next week’s season finale. The fan favorite team of Harlem Globetrotters checked in with EW to defend their spelling skills and dish about those dastardly brothers.
EW: First of all, I’m not going to be able to call you Nate and Herb. You’re Flight Time and Big Easy.
Big Easy: We’re known as Flight Time and Big Easy all around the world. We’ve traveled so much. People know us by our nicknames. We used our regular names when we were talking to each other, though.
EW: How did you two get selected from the entire Globetrotters team to compete on Amazing Race?
Flight Time: Last year, in October 2008, [Globetrotters management] came to us with a list of reality shows and asked would we want to be on any of them if we had an opportunity. They pitched them about getting a couple of us on there. Luckily for us, we were the two selected to represent the team. We have a great relationship so we knew we would make a good team.
Big Easy: We went through everything that everyone else did to get on the show. We weren’t just put on the show because we were Nate and Herb. We went through every step. We didn’t get any extra help because of who we are. We had to work just as hard.
EW: One of the things I loved about you is that you never got angry or had a temper tantrum or yelled at each other. How did you stay calm?
Big Easy: We went into the game thinking it’s a game and we wanted to experience that game. If you’re bickering and arguing, the show is going to fly by you and you’re not going to have fun playing volleyball in the mud or going down a waterslide in Dubai. As Flight Time always says, “Patience and kindness.” We just wanted to be who we were.
Flight Time: For myself, it’s the most nerve-wracking thing I ever did in my whole life. After making it to the second or third leg of the race, we decided we should definitely relax. Being nervous was only going to set us back. After not getting eliminated at the water slide we felt very fortunate. We just had fun the rest of the show.
EW: But how did you never get annoyed at each other? Even the Stepford-esque Meghan and Cheyne yelled at each other.
Big Easy: We probably had a disagreement of “No, you should do it this way” but that wasn’t a fight. We disagreed on things, but we always rolled with it. We play for 20,000 people every time we play for the Globetrotters. It’s hard to get stressed out from this.
EW: Any regrets about anything you did on the race? Perhaps a little taunting experience at the water slide?
Big Easy: We don’t have any regrets. We’re professional athletes and this is a competition. We didn’t do anything in a mean spirit. It was a competitive spirit. You do stuff to get the upper hand. We love Mika.
Flight Time: For the people who thought it was meanspirited, just look at the fact that [Canaan] tried to throw her down the slide.
EW: Big Easy, did you want to kill Dan when he ditched you at the FRANZ challenge after saying he’d work with you?
Big Easy: I was not angry at all. I have no ill will towards the brothers. That was their strategy on the game. It was fun. The way he chose to play the game was part of his game. We have nothing against them. We respect Sam and Dan. They’re good guys. We just didn’t choose to play the race that way.
EW: Now that you’ve watched the show, are you surprised at how much they hated you?
Flight Time: We talk back and forth now that the race is over. I’ve said, Dang, you guys didn’t like us! They say it’s the way it was edited. We think they’re great guys. They’re hilarious. I enjoyed watching them as much as anyone else.
EW: After that elbowing incident in Estonia, did the producers sit you four down to make sure there wouldn’t be any dirty playing?
Big Easy: No. On the mat we hugged and it was over. It happened in the heat of the game. It was nothing malicious or intentional. We still don’t know if he elbowed Flight Time or not. It was over as soon as it happened.
Flight Time: We blame ourselves because we finished at least 2 or 3 minutes before them. We just started to go in the wrong direction. If we had gone in the right direction we wouldn’t have been racing.
EW: Big Easy, was it painful to watch back last night when you couldn’t spell “Franz” out of those letters?
Big Easy: It was tough. I think the toughest part was watching Flight Time sit outside in the cold when I was inside. I did not want him to suffer any longer. If you watched, you saw I had the right word written on my piece of paper, but with so much going on and the telephones ringing and just being exhausted, I dropped the ball.
EW: Flight Time, no anger that Big Easy botched that task?
Flight Time: We had a plan going into the race that we would each do six of the road blocks. I had kept notes from the race because we thought the last challenge would be a memory thing. So we had each done 5 road blocks and I was planning to do the last one so he had to do this one. But there are no regrets.
EW: Did you all bond about how Meghan and Cheyne seemed to be winning everything?
Flight Time: Meghan and Cheyne definitely seemed to be the toughest team. They caught a break in Dubai that put them ahead and then caught a couple of more lucky breaks. I’m sure they were happy when it got to the top 3, that we weren’t there because we could have challenged them. The brothers were good too. Ericka and Bryan just seemed like they got lucky throughout the race.
EW: What’s been the response from your team and friends?
Big Easy: Our teammates are so happy. Everyone just loved how we represented. We have a website and we get emails from fans. A couple emailed us saying that when they’re about to do something bad and argue they say to each other “What would Flight Time and Big Easy do now?” That’s what we take away from the race.
EW: Now that you’ve done Amazing Race, any change you’ll do another reality show?
Flight Time: I feel like I can do anything now. I could do Survivor. I enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars and I think I’m a pretty good dancer. We’re up for anything.
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS