"Basketball kind of came naturally for me," Green, who will be playing with the Globetrotters at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Nov. 3, said. "I’ve played basketball practically my entire life."
Green picked up the ball at the age of 4, inspired by her older brother who enjoyed shooting hoops. She’s stuck with the sport ever since, playing through middle school and high school before earning a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Texas at El Paso. Things were looking up for Green in Texas, but she faced not one, but two major setbacks. She was on track to become Rookie of the Year when she tore her ACL as a freshman. She recovered and then tore her ACL again during her junior year.
"I was trying to figure out why all of the sudden I was going through this hardship in my life," she recalled. "(But) I didn't let it stop me."
Despite her injuries, she returned to the court, this time in the Czech Republic and then in Spain and Mexico. It wasn’t long before she tore her ACL a third time. But she still couldn’t stay off the courts. Shortly after knee surgery, she posted a video of her dribbling the ball while wearing a knee brace. That video went viral and caught the attention of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Green had loved the Globetrotters as a young girl, but she never knew she’d be flying out of her home state of Kentucky to try out for the team. Her skills were enough to impress recruiters. Before long, she was sporting the Globetrotters’ flashy red, white and blue jersey.
"I did what I did and killed it," she said of her tryout. "They told me they could see me on the team. It seemed like a perfect fit."
She’s come to recognize the significance of her role on the Globetrotters since joining the team in 2017. Green is only the 15th female in the team’s long history, and she counts it as an opportunity to inspire other women.
"I … try to be a positive role model and influence for all the girls and women out there," Green said. "I just encourage girls to do (something) if they’re passionate about it. It doesn’t have to be a sport. It can be anything in life. … Girls are more than capable."
Being an inspiration is an important part of being a Globetrotter — even for their teammates. Thunder Law, a fellow Globetrotter, said he’s grateful for the inspiration Green has become, especially when thinking about his daughters.
"When I see someone like Hoops holding it down for the ladies, I’m all for it," he said. "I’ve got two daughters myself. Just rub a little bit off on my daughters so they get some of that (drive)."
Law believes inspiring and uplifting others is part of the game. Since joining the Globetrotters six years ago, he’s broken several Guinness World Records — one of his most recent here in Salt Lake for throwing the highest upwards basketball shot (50 feet and one inch). While the tricks are fun and awe-inspiring, Law said the best part of their job is seeing how their accomplishments and performances make others happy.
"My goal is to make at least one person smile every night," he said. "You never know what someone is going through in life."
Part of that mission means that the Globetrotters are ambassadors of goodwill. They reach out to communities, often visiting hospitals and promoting bullying prevention in schools. For Green, that service comes full circle. She grew up volunteering at her local homeless shelter with her father, and she’s grateful she can continue to make an impact.Comment on this story
"It’s pretty cool to be a part of that," she said. "We do more than play basketball. … We’re very involved in the community and just being kind and good people. … When people see us they … smile."
Law agreed and said that being a Globetrotter requires skills beyond the court.
"You’ve got to be a great basketball player, a great entertainer and a great person," he said. "Those three things make up a Globetrotter."
If you go …
What: Harlem Globetrotters' "2018 Amazing Feats of Basketball World Tour"
When: Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m.
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 West South Temple
How much: $20-$110