By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Briana “Hoops” Green has loved basketball since childhood, and began playing the sport as a four-year-old growing up in Kentucky. But she acknowledges that never in her wildest dreams did she envision one day becoming part of a legendary team. Green is the 15th woman in history to be one of the Harlem Globetrotters, an organization whose history dates back 91 years. She’s on of their three units, and since 2017 has enjoyed traveling the world, entertaining fans, and performing some of their famous tricks and maneuvers.
“No, I never ever even really thought about the Globetrotters when I was playing in college,” Green said last week during an interview at the Tribune. “My main goals were to play in college and then to play overseas in Europe. The Globetrotters were never really something that I thought about. I had certainly heard of them, and I knew there were some other women who’ve been on the team, but that was just something that I hadn’t really entertained until one of their scouts saw me, and then they approached me and made an offer for me to join the team. It’s been an amazing thrill and quite an honor.”
Green’s forte is ball handling and dribbling, and fans who attend Saturday’s Globetrotter games at Bridgestone Arena, will see exactly how she fits into their current regimen. In some ways a lot of what she does resembles some of the things that the amazing Curley Neal used to do as far as dribbling in all sorts of situations, making fancy passes and doing uncanny stunts. “I’m sort of like Curley with hair,” Green laughed while explaining her role in current Globetrotter games.
“I did go back and watch some of the footage from their old days,” she continued. “Of course they’ve updated and changed some things over the years. But while I love playing with them and it’s a lot of fun, there’s always a lot of work involved. We do a lot of practicing to make sure that we’ve got the timing down. It’s very much a process and something that you can’t just master overnight.”
Green credits her older brother for getting her a fast start in the sport. She was a star at Catholic High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Over a four-year period, Green led the team to a 160-14 record that also included a pair of state championships. In addition she earned both All-State and All-Region honors. From there she went to the University of Texas El-Paso, finishing her career ranked 11th all-time among UTEP women players with 79 wins, while scoring 650 career points.
Upon graduation, she played pro ball overseas in the Czech Republic, Spain and Mexico, while also earning a graduate degree in Sports Management at Southern New Hampshire University in 2015. Before becoming a Globetrotter in 2017, Green did some coaching and mentoring, and says that “at some point I’d love to be a coach. I’m not really interested in going to the WNBA or necessarily being a head coach, but I like working with young people and reaching out to them on many levels.”
She’s also been very active in her community back in Kentucky during the Globetrotters off-season. She’s regularly volunteered at soup kitchens and helped served food during Thanksgiving dinners. “I saw my father doing this volunteering when I was very young and it had a big impact on me,” she said. “One of the things that we do as Globetrotters is constant interaction with fans, and especially a lot of young people. I definitely want to continue doing that.”
Despite playing overseas and now having traveled the world with the Globetrotters, Green says there’s one place that they haven’t yet been that she wants to see. “I have never visited Australia,” she admitted. “That’s one country I’d really to like to visit. We’ve been almost every where else, but so far I’ve not been there.”
“I’m really enjoying every day with the Globetrotters,” Green concludes. “We do play a lot of games and travel a lot, but it’s been a chance to meet all kinds of people, see the world and do what I enjoy most, play basketball. So it’s really a great life.”
See the world famous Harlem Globetrotters at Bridgestone Arena Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. For more information about tickets visit Bridgestone Arena at 501 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203 or call 1-866-456-8499.