As parents, we all dream about what our kids will be like when they grow up, hoping they'll be athletic superstars, smart, get a good education, have great careers, and just be good, happy people. I had the good fortune to meet Briana "Hoops" Green of the Harlem Globetrotters, who has achieved all these goals and more. Seriously, she's an amazing young woman -- accomplished, self-confident, and living her goals.
She visited Lowell last week, in advance of the Globetrotters' February 17 game at the Tsongas Center. She stopped into the Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., and the Lowell Humane Society to teach the kids some basketball tricks and spread the Globetrotters' TEAM message for youth:
- T stands for "talk". It's important to talk and share and be a good listener too. Be a good friend and support your friends when they need it, and they'll be there for you too.
- E stands for "empathy". Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Connect with them and show you care.
- A stands for "asking questions". Ask questions of others, talk to them, learn and share.
- M stands for "mobilize". Team up to help each other!
Briana is one of only 15 women to play for the Harlem Globetrotters since they were formed in Chicago in 1926. Over the past 93 years, the team has broken down racial barriers and gender barriers to become one of the most influential sports teams in the world. They travel globally to share their fun and athletic shows, connecting with youth wherever they can, and pursuing important charitable work. Their current 2019 Fan Powered World Tour emphasizes connecting personally with fans before, during and after their shows, so that families and kids can meet and relate to these athletes and celebrities and so they can share their TEAM message.
I had a chance to chat with Hoops for a few minutes to learn more about her and about daily life as a Globetrotter:
What do your parents and your friends think of you being a Globetrotter?
When I first told them, they were really excited. I remember making a phone call to my brother. He was so excited! They all support me; I have a huge support system. They're proud of me.
Did they realize you'd be traveling so much?
They knew I'd be traveling but I don't think any of us knew how much I'd be traveling! We're on the road for about 7-8 months consistently, and then we have a little break. We're in a new city just about every day.
Have you been to all 50 states?
I've been to all of them except Hawaii, Nevada and Delaware.
Are the Globetrotters really global? Do you go abroad?
Yep, we go everywhere. I've been to Africa, Europe, South America. We go all over the world, 123 countries.
How many hours a day do you practice? Do you practice daily to keep your skills going?
We practice every day before our game for a couple of hours.
How long does it take to learn all those crazy tricks?
I'm still learning new things every day! I learned how to spin the ball when I was really young. I didn't know I'd be needing it in the future though! Every day I'm practicing. I have a ball in my hand; it's attached to me.
Do you ever look through footage of the older teams, to see what they did and bring back those tricks?
Those are the originals; those were the greats. I like to watch the older teams to see some of the moves they did, some of the tricks they did. I like to learn from the best.
What would you do if you weren't a Globetrotter?
I earned an MBA in Sports Management. I would want to have my own training facility, be a basketball coach at the collegiate or professional level.
How do you maintain your health when you're traveling so much, in hotels every night, eating out?
It's a little difficult, I make my own choices about what I'm going to eat. I try to eat as healthy as I can, although sometimes I don't! I don't personally follow a special diet. I do what works for me. I don't eat crazy things. Sometimes I'll eat treats but I don't eat a lot of junk food and I don't eat red meat.
And, the question on all of our minds... Will the Washington Generals ever win?
I think the last time they won was in 1971. [laughs]
Would you be surprised if they won? I mean, the game is a lot of choreography, right?
Is it? [laughs]
What does it mean to you to be part of the Globetrotters?
It means a lot. It's an amazing organization, being around for 93 years. They're definitely doing something right. Just being part of the few women who've played for them, it's really special to me. I try to be a positive role model, a positive influence, for the women and kids out there. We're breaking barriers every day.
The Harlem Globetrotters are coming back to Lowell with their brand-new Fan Powered World Tour! See their fun and fantastic show at the Tsongas Center on Sunday, February 17, at 2:00 PM.
Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell
300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Lowell, MA 01852
Phone: (866) 722-8780
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