A professional basketball player from Kansas is using her success to inspire young athletes to go after their dreams.
Hannah Mortimer, 24, is the 17th female to make the Harlem Globetrotters team.
“It means everything. It means inspiring the youth. It means inspiring everybody who comes to the games. It’s just basketball and fun all combined and it’s just an amazing experience not only for me, but for our fans,” said Mortimer.
Mortimer is a Southeast of Saline High School graduate and former Wichita State University basketball player.
“Growing up as a kid, my initial goal was, you know, I want to play professional basketball. That was my dream,” she said.
It was a dream Moritmer said many people said she’d never achieve.
“Being 5 foot 4 inches, I was always told like, ‘You know Hannah, you are way too short to play Division I, yet professionally,'” Mortimer said.
Then, in 2017, she got a call from a recruiter with the Harlem Globetrotters after the recruiter saw her ball-handling skills on a few Instagram videos.
“I was able to go an do a workout with them and the next thing I know, they’re asking me to sign there and play for them,” she said.
When Mortimer isn’t traveling with the team, she’s back home in Salina or in Wichita training young athletes. She said it’s her way of inspiring the younger generation to chase their dreams.
“I have the knowledge and the IQ and everything to be able to share my skills and, you know, my knowledge with other athletes,” Mortimer said.
KSN attended a training session with Mortimer and Northeast Magnet High School player Armonie Lowe.
“It’s more challenging than usual. She makes you dribble faster, run faster and all that,” said Lowe. “There’s going to be moments when she gives you challenging things because she’s a Harlem Globetrotter, but you still gotta keep pushing and she will push you too.”
Lowe said Mortimer has taught her more than basketball skills. She said Mortimer has taught her anything is possible.
“Not to give up,” Lowe said.
“You can make anything in your heart come true with determination, dedication and faith in yourself,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer trains about 20 athletes ranging from elementary school to high school age. She said Jackie Stiles trained he when she was growing up.