When Briana Green was 6 years old, the Harlem Globetrotters dribbled their way into her hometown of Lexington, Ky., and a relative got tickets, knowing little Briana would love the dazzling style of play of this legendary basketball team.
“I enjoyed the trick shots and the ball handling,” said Green, who started playing basketball when she was just 4 years old. “And I couldn’t stop talking about it.”
But she never imagined she would someday end up on the team.
Green went on to become a star player at Lexington Catholic High School (Ky.), leading the team to two state championships. The 5-foot-9 guard was also a standout at the University of Texas — El Pasoand then played professionally in the Czech Republic and Spain.
While playing overseas, Green posted a video of her flashy ball-handling skills on Facebook, and viewers saw flashes of brilliance, just the kind of talent you see when the Harlem Globetrotters entertain audiences around the globe. She was connected to a recruiter, and last year, Green joined the Harlem Globetrotters, becoming only the 15th woman to ever don the red, white and blue uniform in the team’s history.
Now known as “Hoops Green,” the 28-year-old is one of four women on the Harlem Globetrotters — the largest female roster in team history — which also includes TNT Lister and Torch George.
“The men are bigger, taller and stronger,” said Green. “And you have to work hard to hang with them. That’s what I tell girls: We can hang with them.”
After 91 years of thrilling crowds of basketball fans all over the world, the Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their new “Amazing Feats of Basketball World Tour” to metro Atlanta. The Harlem Globetrotters will play twice on March 3 at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth and twice on March 10 at Philips Arena.
Now headquartered in Peachtree Corners, the Harlem Globetrotters are adding new elements to their special blend of basketball and entertainment. The team’s upcoming exhibition game will showcase high-flying fun, dribbling, dunking and shooting (don’t forget, they led all of basketball in 4-point shots made in 2017).
The high-flying dunks will not end with the players, as 2018 will also mark the debut of the “Flying Globies” — an amazing acrobatic trampoline dunk team, which will defy gravity with their in-air stunts.
The Globetrotters include all-star Showmen like Big Easy Lofton, Hi-Lite Bruton, Ant Atkinson, and Hammer Harrison, as well as fan favorites Firefly Fisher, Bull Bullard, Thunder Law and Cheese Chisholm. The Globetrotters also include six players who have competed in the annual College Slam Dunk contest held during Final Four weekend and the 2016 winner of the TV show “The Dunk King.”
The Harlem Globetrotters 2018 tour also features Anthony Blakes, better known as “Buckets Blakes,” who enters his 16th season on the team.
Buckets Blakes was born and raised in Phoenix, and his first exposure to basketball was watching the Phoenix Suns at the age of 5. To make his own hoop, he cut a hole in the top of his dad’s hat, flipped it over and shot a tennis ball through it.
Years of practice from that point forward made him one of the most accurate shooters around (hence the name “Buckets”). He can fill it up in many different ways, like when he broke the Guinness World Records’ record for the most basketball underhanded half-court shots in one minute, dropping six — one more than the previous record. And he made those six shots in just 46 seconds.
“We are the home team everywhere we go,” said Buckets Blakes, who has traveled the globe (83 countries and counting) with the Harlem Globetrotters. “We get the opportunity to make people laugh and smile for two hours.”
2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Infinite Energy Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. $29.50-$167.50.
Prior to every game, the Globetrotters allow fans an opportunity to interact with the team’s stars on the court, shoot hoops, learn tricks, and pose for pictures. This is a ticketed event that requires a $22 Magic Pass ticket. 1-800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com, harlemglobetrotters.com.