December 26, 2013 1:59:57 am
The 61 tall frame of Womens National Basketball Association (WNBA) legend Swin Cash stands out from the group of U-16 basketball enthusiasts assembled at the St. Dominic Savio Schools court. The three-time WNBA champions role on the occasion is to serve as mentor for the students from 164 schools around Mumbai during what was the Reliance Foundation 3X3 Junior NBA Championship in the city. Yet as she spoke and advised the aspiring athletes,both boys and girls,she maintains that she was a tad biased towards the girls.
You talk about the NBA,and all you think of are male athletes. So its good for them to see people like me to serve as role models, she says,laughing.
Known off the court for her philanthropic work,the 34-year-old works extensively for charitable organisations,particularly her own brainchild,Cash for Kids.
I come from a very humble background. My mum used to take me to help at different charitable works so that was instilled in me from a very young age, she says. Basketball has given me a lot so now Im trying to give back, she adds.
Cashs community work essentially focuses on basketball. Long before the champion basketball player made her way into the top league,she excelled in the sport on account of the free availability of the training facilities. Cash works to maintain the level of after-school sport for students by funding establishments that provide a free sporting opportunity for youngsters.
When I was coming up,I could join organisations and not have to pay. But now with the economy,a lot of those programs have been cut,so I come in to try and finance these places to make sure they stay open,especially in low income areas, she says.
The two-time WNBA All Star Most Valuable Player (MVP) has also featured as a studio analyst,and given that she majored in communications while studying at the University of Connecticut,she hopes to take up a career in broadcasting. My goal is to hold my own talk show, she says laughing. Once I retire,Id love to go into television and continue my work for my company, she adds.
Her community service may have earned her an honourary doctorate,but the Chicago Sky forwards favourite memory comes from within the realms of the court. She states that her first season on the professional circuit,with the Detroit Shock,served as an eye-opener for her,but the one that followed was something she holds equal to her Olympic golds.
My first 13 games as a professional ended in defeats! she exclaims. I had lost only six games in my four years at college,so this was a reality check for me because now I was in the bigger league. But in the very next season,we won the championship. We went from worst to first, she said,laughing as she repeated the phrase several times over.
Growing up in a family of avid basketball supporters,Cash claims that she discovered her competitive side towards the game once she had her growth spurt.
I used to play baseball,softball and soccer. I was also a cheerleader,which is definitely a sport, she says laughing,going further to explain that the art needs a great deal of fitness and balance. Basketball just happened on the way. I used to play in the neighbourhood and I suddenly grew taller and got better.
A keen traveller,Cashs has travelled to several parts of the world. I love experiencing people from different cultures because it makes me feel like a well-rounded person, she says. But of course,its also for the basketball and I would love to come back here again soon to see how the kids are doing, she adds,smiling.
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