In sports, praise and recognition is always given to the best athletes. In our society however, most praise is given particularly to male athletes. But today we are going to celebrate an incredible African American female athlete that achieved great milestones in the national woman’s basketball league, obtained the highest award in international sporting events, and has served as a positive role model.
According to the WNBA record of its greatest moments, Lisa Leslie In 1998 set an WNBA record by pulling down 21 rebounds. Then, in 1999 on a WNBA All-Star game, the West defeated the East and Lisa was named the MVP. In 2001 during another WNBA All-Star game Lisa’s team won and she earned her second MVP title. On the same year, she scored her 2,538th point to become the WNBA career scoring leader, while also helping hear team claim its first WNBA Championship and becoming the first WNBA player to get all three MVP awards in the same season. Joining NBA famous players like Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan and Willis Reed as the only professional players to accomplish that feat. Then in 2002 Lisa became the first WNBA player to record 3,000 points and the first WNBA player to dunk in a game.
In addition to being a stellar basketball player in the WNBA she also participated in four Olympic events representing the United States; Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. According to teamusa.org, in 1996 Lisa was the leading scorer and won the gold medal in the1996 USA Olympics. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics she was recognized as the leading scorer and rebounder of the US Olympic Team, and won the gold medal. In the 2004 Athens Olympics she led the US team to the gold medal stand and was the USA’s all time leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker in three Olympic Games. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics she assisted the US Olympic team capture the USA’s fourth gold medal.
Lisa made significant contribution to society and has been a positive role model for many. According to her auto biography Don’t Let The Lipstick Fool You, she dedicated the Lisa Leslie Sport Complex at Morning-side High School. She was also the spokesperson for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In collaboration with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks she launched a basketball and leadership academy for youth at Westwood Sports Complex, which provides year round basketball academy for boys and girls, ages 7 to 18. < click to slide with video clip Lisa Leslie >
Her ground braking achievements in the WNBA, international victories in the Olympics and her impacting community involvement and social work, are more than enough reasons to celebrate and appreciate her work and contributions.