As long as I can remember I've been a fan of the game of basketball. My Dad often spoke about the Legends of the game, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Moses Malone, and his all- time favorite- George "IceMan" Gervin. He loved the way he would finger roll the basketball into the basket so effortlessly. I idolized many of the NBA players when I started playing the game of basketball and imitated many of their moves because I didn't have women's players to look up to. It was very challenging for me to attend the NBA All Star game while I was playing abroad in Europe. The one year I planned to attend the All Star game was in New Orleans and my flight from Israel got canceled. It was then I told myself I would go and experience the game after I finished playing. I was very excited when Charlotte, North Carolina was chosen to host the 2017 All Star game. I would finally experience my 1st All Star game in my home state. Everything changed when the NBA removed the game because of the league's objection to the state's House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the state. Although I disagreed with the House Bill and was upset with North Carolina losing the game, I quickly looked at the positive side, I would get the missed opportunity from 2008 and experience the game in New Orleans in 2017.
North Carolina lost the chance to host the NBA All Star game because of the House Bill 2.
As a retired player I will also get to experience the game with other NBA, WNBA, ABA & Harlem Globetrotter Legends the weekend of February 18, 2017. This will also be very exciting for the National Basketball Player's Association (NBRPA) as we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. All NBRPA members are invited to be a part of the festivities at NBA All Star and please visit the website for more information. I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and finally experiencing my 1st All Star game.
Please follow the @wnbaalumni on twitter and @nbaalumni to stay in the loop with what's going on with our Legends of the game.
The Cleveland Cavaliers stopped by the White House to visit President Obama and celebrate their championship season. Fortunately for the Cavs, this will be the last NBA or WNBA team to meet with President Obama to celebrate their championship season. President Obama has always had a way with words and referenced each player in his speech. He even joked about JR Smith shirtless attire after winning his 1st ever championship by saying, “I want to give a special thanks to J.R. Smith’s shirt for showing up,” Obama said. “I’m glad you came. You’re a very nice shirt.”
JR Smith remained shirtless after winning his 1st ever NBA championship.
President-Elect Trump will be in office on January 20th after running one of the most racist and woman-hating campaigns ever. It will be interesting to see how the WNBA L A Sparks will receive their invitation to the White House next year to celebrate their 2016 WNBA title. They may want to try and get that celebration started earlier before President Obama and First lady Michelle are gone. With both professional teams as well as individual athletes protesting and voicing their opinions on political matters and injustice, it will be really interesting to see how the future championship celebrations at the White House turn out.
Athletes are now using their platforms more than ever to protest racial injustice.
In the past many athletes have steered away from using their platforms for political matters. With the recent Black Lives Matter movement, racial injustice, and police brutality issues, many athletes have chosen to no longer remain silent. One of these former professional athletes not only used her voice, but put her words in to action and ran for mayor of her city. My former Washington Mystics teammate and University of Miami Hall of Famer, Tamara James, said that she wasn't going to just encourage people to vote and complain about the many problems affecting our race but she was going to run for mayor. I've followed and supported her over the past year and I would like to congratulate her on becoming the youngest ever to become Mayor of Dania Beach, Florida. She was not only the youngest to ever be elected she also received the most votes. She was quoted as saying "Voting does Matter." It is often said that athletes only use their voice and briefly bring awareness to what's going on. Tamara James will not only use her voice but now has the platform to evoke change in her city.
Congratulations Tamara James on being elected Mayor of Dania Beach Florida.
I am proud of Tamara and all the athletes that are using their platforms to use their influence in a positive way. To whom much is given, much is required. Professional athletes work incredibly hard, yet the rewards of being a professional athlete are just as incredible. You may not decide to take a knee like Kapaernick, run for mayor like Tamara, or give a speech at the ESPYs, and that's okay. There are countless ways to use your influence. Blog, write, speak, volunteer, develop a nonprofit, run a business, create a radio show, mentor kids. Whatever you do, speak up and speak out for the issues that are important to you. Many of the former WNBA and NBA legends are giving back in a unique way with the help of various organizations like the NBRPA. If you're a retired professional basketball player or an individual or company interested in learning more about this organization click on the link below.
Last but not least Happy Veteran's Day to all those that have fought and continue to fight and make sacrifices on behalf of us all. Regardless of the presidential elections, please let us remember those who find honor and would sacrifice their lives for our country.
We learned that is was definitely the Los Angeles Spark's "Time to Rise". The Sparks bounced back from a crushing defeat on their home court in game 4 of the WNBA Finals to beat the Minnesota Lynx 77-76. Candace Parker won her first WNBA championship in one of the most memorable games in not only franchise history but WNBA history. Parker scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a Game 5 victory. She also had the help of WNBA, MVP Nneke Ogwumike's, game winning put back which sealed the deal for the Los Angeles Sparks as they clinched their franchise's 3rd WNBA championship.
This WNBA Frontcourt has helped bring the post game back to a league that has been guard oriented.
The Sparks did a great job weathering the storm. We all knew the Minnesota Lynx would play well at home in front of a sold out crowd and make runs where it seemed like Maya Moore would never miss. The Sparks managed to stay in the game with the help of their unsung heroes Alana Beard, Chelsea Gray and Kristi Toliver. The fact that Beard was being a pest on defense, Toliver was still able to hit an incredible shot, and Gray was coming in attacking offensively is also a big reason that LA is now the reigning champions. Candace Parker and Nneke Ogwumike have finally proven to themselves and to the world that they can be a perfect and lethal combination. We also learned that the the guards may have to take a back seat to the post players, because this duo has brought the post game back.
Magic Johnson saved the Los Angeles Sparks and was quoted as "I don't just want to save the franchise, I want to win a championship."
Magic Johnson partnered with Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter and others to save the struggling Sparks last year and wanted not only to save the club, but also win a championship. Magic in his second year as part owner has his 1st WNBA championship to add to his 5 NBA championships. Magic also inspired the ladies before Game 5 by telling them how he and his Lakers beat the Boston Celtics on their home court in 1985 in a game 7. He wanted them to know they could do the same thing against Minnesota. Magic also probably mentioned the painful memories that they had from losing to the Celtics the year before. The similar painful memories that the Sparks were motivated by all season in last year's WNBA semifinals debacle.
Brian Agler 2x ABL Champion and 2x WNBA Champion
Brian Agler is known for getting championships out of his star players. He did is with Katie Smith in the ABL with the Columbus Quest, Lauren Jackson Seattle Storm and now with the Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks. He's was brought to the Sparks to win a championship and he has delivered. Congrats to Brian for winning his 2nd title against a team he was a former general manager and coach at one point during his career. Brian Agler is one of the greatest coaches in the women's game and is still adding to his resume.
With these two fierce competitors leading the way. Minnesota is sure to be back to get #4
Everyone knows the Minnesota Lynx have set the bar for other WNBA teams. They make each team elevate their games, staff, fan base and organizations. Congratulations to the Lynx for continuing a standard of excellence that the now defunct Houston Comets started and the Detroit Shock followed suit in. We learned again that Coach Cheryl Reeves is a brilliant coach and her brash consistency with the refs will continue after the questionable calls made during the WNBA season and Finals. We learned that Maya Moore is a prolific scorer and when she is on, it's amazing to watch. We learned that Sylvia Fowles dominates the paint and Seimone Augustus isn't going anywhere. We learned that the LA Sparks may have had a little help with this one and that Minnesota will be back for more.
The National Basketball Retired Player's Association wanted to make sure to spend a special shout out to Penny Toler. She's a "Penny" that shines bright. As a reminder Penny was the 1st player to score 2pts in the WNBA"s inaugural game in 1997. She was the 1st player to transition from the WNBA player to WNBA general manager. Penny also helped construct a team that dethroned the 4x Houston Comets. So I would like to say salute to the Legend, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Sparks on her 3rd WNBA championship. Penny Toler is the epitome of what the NBRPA wants for all former players, an opportunity to excel in post career transition and recognize them for all they have given to the game.
WNBA President Lisa Border rings stock exchange closing bell to start the WNBA 20th season.
The WNBA 20th season started out with a bang as Diana Taurasi returned to action. The top 20 Legends were honored and WNBA President Lisa Borders took over. The 2016 WNBA Finals exemplified the type of play that the best female basketball players in the world provide for entertainment and this league should not continue to be overlooked. In 1997 "We Got Next" then it was Join In , then it was We Got Game and this year it was Watch Me Work! Hopefully Lisa Borders will close the bell on the taglines because we are here and when we are given the opportunity we shine. It's time for everyone else to stop with the hate and fall in line.
Join in and help the Kay Yow Cancer Fund honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month and continue to serve the under served.
Hi Everyone, thanks for reading the blog and before I end this blog I would like to encourage each of you to click on the photo and donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund #pink4kay. This is a campaign that we've started in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Your donation supports a great cause and also enters your name for free giveaways. It's really surreal that after playing for the late Coach Kay Yow at NC State that I'm working for her charitable organization. Help me honor her legacy and continue the success of the Fund in the fight against all women's cancers. For more info follow the @kayyowfund or visit kayyow.com. Click on the photo for more info on BCAM.