Harlem Globetrotters back in town for annual Dec. 26 game
At Whitehall Elementary School, hundreds of kids in second through fifth grade pound their feet in the gym and cheer for Brianna “Hoops” Green, a Harlem Globetrotter who asks for volunteers from the audience.
“I need to know — who is the most confident person in the room who thinks they can steal the basketball from me?” Green asked the kids at her recent Pittsburgh visit to promote the Globetrotters’ annual day-after-Christmas game here.
Dozens of eager hands at the Whitehall school shot up to participate.
One boy tried to steal the basketball while she dribbled it and rotated, and he couldn’t do it.
Then two more boys tried and succeeded — but, Green has to let the kids win sometimes, she said in an interview.
The Harlem Globetrotters will play double games
Dec. 26 in its Fan Powered World Tour, held at PPG Paints Arena.
Green — a Globetrotters
guard originally from Lexington, Ky. — is only the 15th woman in the team’s nine-decade-plus history, and she is now one of five female players on the current team.
She enjoys doing the school visits when she is not on the court. At these visits, Globetrotters entertain kids with basketball tricks while promoting their anti-
bullying T.E.A.M. acronym, which stands for Talk,
Empathy, Ask, Mobilize.
Players talk to kids about how to handle bullies and have good relationships with their peers and adults.
“It’s a lot of fun … to be a positive role model and influence,” Green says. She attended the University of Texas at El Paso, where she ranks third on the school’s list of all-time wins, with 79. As a female player, Green says she demonstrates “positive girl power.”
The Harlem Globetrotters are as much entertainers as they are athletes.
They are known for their fancy ball acrobatics, like spinning balls on their fingers, their comedic antics and their outgoing personalities.
As for their athletic skills, the Harlem Globetrotters pretty much always defeat their longtime opponent, the Washington Generals.
The team’s catchy, whistling tune, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” plays throughout the games and is one of those infectious songs that will stick in people’s heads. And people love the song, Green says.
“I’ll be walking by
and people … see me in my Globetrotter uniform, and they will just start
whistling,” she says.
When Green was younger, she knew she wanted to play pro basketball, but had never thought about becoming a Globetrotter. Green — who now lives in Jacksonville, Fla. — played women’s basketball in Europe.
She connected with a Globetrotters recruiter, and tried for the team. And now, here she is — going on her third year with the team.
Last month, the Globetrotters debuted a new, syndicated TV special called “Harlem Globetrotters: Inside Training Camp.”
The 30-minute show, produced by Echo Entertainment, takes viewers inside the team’s annual training camp, which takes place outside of Atlanta.
The program, narrated by actor Leonard Jackson, will be airing through April 2019 in more than 80 markets.
Also in November, the Globetrotters set five new Guinness World Records, bringing the team’s total to 21. One of the team’s new records, each accomplished at Guinness World Records Day in Georgia, is player Bull Bullard’s summersault basketball shot – which was 58 feet and 1.25 inches. The team also saw its first-ever Guinness World Record by a female member, with player Torch George’s 32 basketball under-the-leg tumbles in one minute.
Kellie Gormly is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.