Brittany Hrynko is an important member of two basketball teams — one you’ve probably never heard of, one you most certainly have. Does Hrynko ever get confused, performing a skill meant for one team while playing for the other?
“No, never have,” Hrynko said, breaking into a laugh.
Hrynko has been playing hoops for a long time, with her brothers at the Lawncrest Rec Center, at Engineering and Science High, as the Big East player of the year at DePaul, now as a point guard for the first-year Philadelphia Reign of the Women’s Basketball Development Association, which is attempting to be a rough equivalent to the G League on the men’s side.
What’s Hrynko’s other team? A little outfit known as the Harlem Globetrotters.
“I’m going into my second year,’’ Hrynko said, just back from a Globetrotters trip to Costa Rica. “A business vacation.”
Her Globetrotters name? Ice. The moniker is provided with a backstory attached: “When my defender is guarding me, they’re always on ice.”
What’s her official position, point guard?
“I’m a dribbler,’’ Hrynko said.
Who has a cooler position than that? She is, however, allowed to shoot.
“I shoot four-point shots,’’ Hrynko said. “Like 30-footers.”
She already has been to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, and France with the Globetrotters. It’s not hard to understand why she isn’t dying to get to the WNBA. She had been a second-round draft choice out of DePaul in 2015. She has played professionally in Germany.
“I definitely think Brittany should be one of the top 144,’’ said Reign coach Tanae Davis-Cain, referring to the number of WNBA roster spots. “She’s top caliber, really skilled, knows the game, a great teammate.”
Going into the WBDA playoffs, the Reign have been the top team, undefeated through the 11-game regular season, with the postseason starting Aug. 2 in Kansas City, Mo. Playing at Chestnut Hill College, the team took advantage of all the Philly-area talent.
“One of my teammates, Mercedes Walker [a former Pittsburgh player], got in contact with me,’’ Hrynko said. “I guess they asked her about it first. It’s just a matter of building women’s sports in Philly, building this team, period.”
She was an easy fit, and the Globetrotters offered a little break in their schedule, giving her time to make most of the games. (The league is still a logistical work in progress. Looking for Hrynko’s WBDA statistics is an exercise in futility.)
But her skills translate, even if she doesn’t try to put on dribbling exhibitions during Reign games.
“Not that she doesn’t try stuff,’’ Reign general manager Terry Frederick said. “At times, she’s gone through three people.”
Her Globetrotters tryout hadn’t been about comedic bits.
“It was normal five-on-five, me and a ton of guys,’’ said Hrynko, 26.
That makes sense, making sure the Globies start with a base of basketball skill. With multiple teams on the road, the Globetrotters keep 40 players, Hrynko said, including seven or eight women.
“Once training camp started, that’s when all the tricks started coming in,’’ Hrynko said.
She’s up on the history, knows Curly Neal, for instance, was a master at the position that now has an official title. She can’t tell you how many times adults come up to her with their own memories of seeing the Globetrotters as a child.
“You have to have a good personality,’’ Hrynko said of being a Globetrotter. “It has to be something you want to do. You’re trying to put a smile on their faces. You never know what a kid or a family is going through.”
Hrynko, who averaged 21.9 points as a DePaul senior and set a school career record for assists, doesn’t worry about being one of 144 in the WNBA, doesn’t think about it these days. “I got this call of a lifetime from the Globetrotters,” she said.
Hrynko’s two current teams do share a trait: Neither has lost this year. Which came closer?
Neither, Hrynko said. “The Reign maybe,’’ she added. “We had one close one.”
If the Reign keep their streak alive through the playoffs, Hrynko might be the answer to a trivia question: Name the American pro athlete with the most wins in 2019 without a loss.