Throughout the 87-year history of the Harlem Globetrotters, there have only been nine female players.
New recruits T-Time Brawner and Mighty Mitchell make numbers 10 and 11, and they couldn’t be happier about joining the Globetrotter legacy.
“The guys are great,” Brawner said. “They’re like my brothers, so it’s sort of like family away from family.”
The Globetrotters will showcase their basketball skills at the Baton Rouge River Center Saturday, Feb. 23, and at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans the next day.
Brawner was tossed into the deep end right away. Her first tour as a Globetrotter was an overseas stint to entertain U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the Middle East. She admitted being a bit worried about what kind of reception the team would receive.
“We’re a family show. We get all ages, but a lot of kids are there,” Brawner said. “Well, it was only adults there on the military tour, so I was wondering how all these adults were going to respond to our show, and it was amazing because they were just like the kids.”
Brawner thinks that adults generally love the show because so many of them saw the Globetrotters for the first time as children.
“I got a chance to see them at the Oakland Arena,” Brawner said, recalling her first experience seeing the team. “I was probably about 8 or 9. The best thing about that is that we played at Oakland about a month ago, so I got a chance to entertain the same people. I got a chance to be the person on the stage this time.”
The journey to become a Globetrotter was a long one for Brawner. After years of proving herself on the court while playing for Dominican University of California, she was invited to try out for the team.
“They brought me in for a workout. Now, I’ve been to hundreds of basketball workouts and tryouts and this was typical stuff. The only difference was this time I wasn’t playing against girls. I was going up against guys,” Brawner said.
As just the 10th and 11th female players in the team’s long history, Brawner and Mitchell stand out. While she admits that this puts a little more pressure on her shoulders, she doesn’t let it get to her.
“I think that, as an athlete, when you play for top programs in high school and college you just kind of get used to it. We’re very confident in what we do, because we practice so much. We go for perfection. I think that’s what makes us a part of the Globetrotters,” she said.
Brawner also revealed some of the new features of the show that should excite first-timers and longtime fans.
“This is our 87th year, and this is the first time that we have a You Write the Rules tour,” Brawner said. “So that means that our fans can go online and they get to pick the rules for each quarter. We have the four-point shot, which is 12 feet beyond the NBA three-point line. What’s incredible about that is that we have a guy named Firefly Fisher, and he has made that shot in 43 consecutive games. We also have a rule called Two Ball, where we will play for two minutes out of that quarter with two basketballs, which you can imagine is kind of difficult, and doubles the points.”
In addition to playing basketball, Brawner tried her hand at acting and modeling in Los Angeles. She says that playing for the Globetrotters allows her to fulfill her desire to play basketball and perform as well.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit, because it allows me to follow my passion, which is basketball, but at the same time it allows me to go out there and have some fun and entertain,” Brawner said. “The most fun part for me is the fan interaction.”
Brawner said that just like the Globetrotters that inspired her when she was young, the team will put on a show to remember.
“The game lasts four quarters, but the memories last a lifetime,” she said.