McPherson's enthusiasm for basketball began with the highly successful Globe Refiners, a local men's team sponsored by the Globe Refining Company and affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The team was led by Coach Gene Johnson from Wichita University and featured star players Francis Johnson (brother of Gene), Joe Fortenberry, Bill Wheatley, Tex Gibbons, Jack Ragland and Willard Schmidt.
During their short, two-year existence, the McPherson Globe Refiners won second place in the 1935 AAU championship game followed by first place in 1936. They represented the United States at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, the first year basketball was an official medal sport. The team represented their country well and returned home with the first-ever Olympic gold medal in basketball having defeated Canada 19-8.
A mural located at the intersection of Kansas and Ash Streets commemorates the McPherson Globe Refiners. An annual event is also hosted by the McPherson Museum. Dates and details will vary.