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Greenberg suits up for Kansas City Tornados

Grant Greenberg takes a shot while playing in the Maccabiah Games in Israel in July 2017. Team USA won the gold medal in men’s basketball. Dov Halickman Photography

The North American Premier Basketball League announced Kansas City’s new professional basketball team — the Kansas City Tornados — in late September 2017. About two months later, Grant Greenberg got some good news of his own.

Greenberg, a resident of Leavenworth, Kansas, was invited to attend the Tornados’ training camp, which ran three days in mid-December. He was among about 20 players invited to the camp. 

When the camp ended, he was invited to join the 10-man team for its first season, which started Jan. 3. The Tornados play in the arena at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. 

The team’s head coach, Calvin Thompson, had watched Greenberg play at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth and contacted him to gauge his interest in joining the team, Greenberg said. Greenberg holds the record for points scored in collegiate men’s basketball in the state of Kansas — 3,330. 

He didn’t talk to any other professional teams before deciding to join the Tornados.

“It just kind of worked out to stay in Kansas City, and I’m happy it worked out,” he said. “It’s close to home. I get to play in front of my family and friends. All the players are nice, friendly like the coach. We’re just trying to achieve the goal of winning a championship.”

Greenberg achieved another goal this past summer: He played on Team USA’s men’s basketball team in the 20th Maccabiah Games (commonly known as the Jewish Olympics) from July 4 through July 18 in Israel. The team won the event’s gold medal.

“Coming from college to professional is just a different level,” he said. “I’m trying to adapt to the style of play day by day. If I come in and work hard, I’ll get used to it.” 

Greenberg is a shooting guard for the Tornados. He was a point guard and shooting guard in college. He’s 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds. 

He is 23 and was born in North Carolina. His father was in the military, and his family moved around a lot while he was a child. He has lived in Leavenworth most of his life. He does not belong to a congregation.

He now belongs to a league with eight teams: the Tornados, the Albany (New York) Patroons, the Kentucky Thoroughbreds, the Nevada Desert Dogs, the Ohio Cardinals, the Rochester (New York) RazorSharks, the Vancouver (British Columbia) Knights and the Yakima (Washington) Sunkings. 

“I’ve been in the same system for the last four years at the University of Saint Mary,” Greenberg said. “This is a whole new system. I’ll get to know the players. It’ll take time, but I’m taking it day by day.”

Tickets are on sale through Kansas City Tornados Ticketmaster.