I became a collegiate basketball player because the love I have for the game of basketball is extremely abundant. I knew I did not want my basketball career to end after high school and it has never been something I needed to think about. The goal was to get a scholarship to play Division 1 basketball, and years of practice, games, camps and tournaments were dedicated to that. My journey through high school was a fun one indeed! I mean, I had the best teammates to be able to surround myself with at the time. I promise you there was never a dull moment. Was everyday perfect? No, of course not. But I looked forward to competing by their side every game because I knew who I was battling with was just as eager to win as I was. My high school experience definitely helped propel me forward to get ready for college, really my entire upbringing did! I wouldn’t change that for the world.
Throughout my career I had to overcome a lack of confidence in myself and in my game. For whatever reason, I never seemed to believe I was good enough and it did not matter how many people may have told me I actually was good enough. I think a lack of confidence stopped me from believing I could potentially play professional basketball. To be honest, I didn’t really conquer it until just recently and to be even more honest there are still times I still struggle with it. Lack of confidence has always been a big thing for me.
First, I want people to know that YOU ARE MORE THAN AN ATHLETE. It took a long time for me to realize that I am more than just a basketball player. I thought that fact alone was where my worth and identity was found and that is not true. I will say that as a black female athlete I felt like there were times when I did think that I’d have to do a little bit more, or win more games over players that did not look like me in order to be seen by college coaches. But that was very short lived, I figured out I just had to go out and play my game the best way I knew how and that the right coaches would notice me and see my talent regardless of skin color.
Basketball means the world to me. As mentioned above, in this game is where I used to define my worth but it’s only part of who I am. Basketball has saved my life in so many ways, I really do not know where I would be without the sport. It’s like an addiction, I can’t stay away from it, I don’t want to stay away from it. Basketball has taught me leadership skills, how to communicate effectively, adaptability, time management, discipline, and those are just to name a few! I could play the game all day long every single day and not even think twice about it. I definitely know that I have been blessed with a special knowledge and talent to play this game.
The advice I would give to a younger me would be to be more confident, basically find your confidence early. There’s only one you and your only competition is being better than the person you were yesterday. I would also say, don’t take this game lightly, give it all you have everyday and on the days you don’t feel like you can keep going that’s when you push harder. Fall in love with yourself first, go after your dreams and don’t let anyone or anything stop you.
Honestly, I hope that sports begin to set the bar high for equality in the world. In one way or another I really believe that sports of any kind (cheerleading, racing, horseback riding, etc.) is a common denominator in the entire human race, somehow it brings us all together and does so much good. My hope for the world is that we all figure out that we are all connected and we all come from the same divine source. There is love in your mind, body and soul naturally because the One who created you is indeed LOVE itself! Ultimately, my hope for the world is that we finally realize that love is our natural state of being.
I think the best way for athletes to promote change is to find what change they wish to see in the world and advocate for that the best way they can. Use their voice and even use their sport to promote change and be an example. For instance, recently one of the top male high school basketball prospects, Makur Maker, just committed to Howard University, an HBCU! That’s HUGE! Sports is a platform in itself, a huge platform, and I think an individual promoting positive change through their sport is a great thing and can create a ripple effect!