Hannah Mortimer has had a varied and successful basketball career.
She was a standout at Southeast-Saline in high school, then at Brown Mackie College before transferring to Wichita State as a walk-on and earning a scholarship. But when she's back home in Salina or in Wichita, that's not what she's known for anymore.The question Mortimer is hearing more and more: "You're the girl that does basketball tricks?"
Thanks to a growing audience on her Instagram and Facebook pages, Mortimer is carving out a reputation for ball-handling and ball-spinning skills. Her first video showcasing a flurry of fancy dribbling moves has been viewed more than 86,000 times and her videos have been picked up by several national web sites.
Not bad for a hobby that began with Mortimer spinning basketballs on the fingers of children and doing ball tricks for them before WSU women's basketball games.
"It used to be something I used to do just for fun, but now I have definitely been putting a lot more time into it and a lot of practice into it so now I definitely see building a career out of it," Mortimer said. "Whether that's going into the entertainment industry with a basketball team or something like that, I could definitely see myself doing it for awhile as a career and making it what I do every day."
Now Mortimer has a team that helps her with the videos in twin sister Haley and friend Mayah Vedelago. They're enjoying the pressure and challenge of creating new videos now that Mortimer has gone viral.
"It's definitely forcing me to be creative with the ball and I love that," Mortimer said. "We're having to put all of our minds on it now to make sure we're creating cool videos that people are going to like."
The views are nice, but that's not Mortimer's motivation.
She says the best feeling is still seeing kids' faces light up when she passes a spinning ball onto their finger or does a trick for them.
"Everyone just seems so happy about it and they think it's so cool," Mortimer said. "That's probably one of the best feelings. That's why I like doing it for people and engaging people during the tricks."
This article is written by Taylor Eldridge from The Wichita Eagle and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.