Bria Hartley’s Journey of Balancing Basketball and Motherhood

Indian Fever guard Bria Hartley has been in the WNBA for eight years, and she’s had someone special by her side for five of them. Her son, Bryson Hartley. 

The 29-year-old point guard found out she was pregnant with Bryson during her third year in the League while playing for the Washington Mystics. She continued playing up until she was about five months pregnant.  

“I didn’t really tell anyone,” Hartley explained to Taylor Tannebaum of WHTR Sports. “Back then, old CBA [collective bargaining agreement], we didn’t have any maternity coverage, I wasn’t sure if I’d get all my salary, and it was only my third year, so I wasn’t really making that much money or anything, so I wanted to make sure I got it all.” 

Hartley says people constantly told her that she wouldn’t return the same. They were right; Hartley believes she’s been playing her best ball since becoming a mom. The season after her son was born, 2018, to be exact, she dished out 3.6 assists per game, good for 121 total assists. She also hit 36 three-pointers on 30.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc, the second-most she made in a season. 

Throughout her basketball journey, Bryson has been experiencing it all. He’s been with Bria since she played in New York, Phoenix, the WNBA bubble in Tampa, and Istanbul, Turkey, where Hartley plays overseas. At five-years-old, Bryson has gotten most of the experience of being a professional athlete by sitting through film and meetings with his mom and her teammates.

“I think I just wanted to change that stigma,” Hartley says about being a hooper and mom. “Now it’s just like; he’s watching. Sometimes you have your days where you’re kinda not in the mood, but at the same time, you have to be an example for him. You’re not gonna have your best days all the time; you gotta keep pushing, you gotta keep moving forward.”

Hartley continues to set an example for Bryson and the world that you can be both a professional basketball player and a mom.