The WNBA could not have scripted a better person to become the “face” of its sport! I’m happy to honor this statuesque beauty in my latest Black History Month post.
Considered the greatest player in WNBA history, the beautifully poised and immensely talented Lisa Leslie graced the covers of magazine and television ads as a Wilhemina model at the same time she flourished as a professional women’s basketball player.
The 6’5″ University of Southern California grad became the number seven pick in the 1996 WNBA Draft while simultaneously signing on with one of the world’s most recognized modeling agencies.
Lisa Leslie graduated from USC as the PAC 10’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots. She quickly asserted herself in the fledgling WNBA which debuted only a year earlier in 1995.
Leslie played brilliantly during her charmed 12-year career with her hometown Los Angeles Sparks. As the Sparks’ center, she led them to back-to-back WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002.
The cover girl center distinguished herself during her playing days by retiring in 2009 with these individual accomplishments: 3x MVP, 8x All-Star and holder at the time of her retirement as the WNBA career leader in points and rebounds.
Leslie also achieved two other unrivaled individual feats as a professional women’s basketball player. In addition to being named regular season MVP, All-Star Game MVP and Playoffs MVP all during her epic 2001 season, Leslie eventually invested in the same team – the Los Angeles Sparks – that drafted her and became a co-owner of this WNBA franchise.
Apart from the WNBA, Leslie remains the most successful female basketball player of all-time. She’s also the only Olympian ever to win four consecutive gold medals in a team sport – in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 – an accomplishment which may never be duplicated.
Most fans recall Lisa Leslie for her extraordinary WNBA and Olympic success as well as being the first woman to ever dunk a basketball during an official game. And, many fans see her today on television as a knowledgeable studio analyst for women’s basketball.
However, I choose to remember this statuesque basketball playing model as an inspiring author and role model who willingly gives back to her community.
Also, I think that we can all agree that Lisa Leslie’s is a face that no one will soon forget.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!