Lisa Deshaun Leslie-Lockwood, more commonly known as Lisa Leslie, was born July 7, 1972 in Gardena, California. She is a now retired American professional women’s basketball player. She was a huge figure during her WNBA(Women’s National Basketball Association) career and was looked up to by many, both figuratively and literally. She wasn’t always into sports as a child, but somewhere down the line she became one of the most dominant female players to ever play the game of basketball. When Lisa was in middle school she already began towering over everybody at a height of a little over 6 feet.
She had no intention of ever playing basketball, and it wasn’t until a classmate begged her to come out for the team, that she actually began playing. When she reached eighth grade she transferred to a school that had no women’s basketball team, so she joined the boy’s team. She not only did very well there, but it boosted her confidence and enhanced her performance. At the age of 14 she started getting hundreds of letters from colleges and universities all around the country, which was before she even entered high school.
In 1986 she enrolled in Morningside High School and started every game on their girls basketball team. She holds a record for most points scored in a single half, at 101 points. By the time she was a sophomore, she could already dunk the ball. As the leading scorer and player with the most rebounds, she led her team to the California state championship. By her senior year she was the top female basketball player in the country. Lisa did not want to move far from home when she went to college, so she attended University of Southern California.
Like high school, it did not take long for Lisa to dominate the college courts. Throughout college she played a total of 120 games, averaging 20 points a game. Her college career consisted of 2,414 points and 321 blocked shots. Her record throughout college was 89 wins and 31 losses. She became the first player in history to obtain first team all four years. First team is basically the best players across the country. She also won the Rookie of the Year and National Freshman of the year award in 1991. And to top off her college experience, in 1994, she won National Player of the Year.
Lisa Leslie joined the USA women’s team in 1991, competing in England. She was the second leading scorer and helped her team win the gold medal. The WNBA did not officially start until 1997 and soon after Lisa was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks. She helped the team make it to the playoffs 5 consecutive times and won the title in 2001. That year, Lisa Leslie was named Sportswomen of the Year. In 2002 she shattered the eyes of men and women watching when she became the first women to ever dunk a basketball in a WNBA game.
After leading her team to their second world championship victory, she became the first person to reach 4,000 points and 3 years later, 6,000 points. Lisa sadly announced her retirement at the end of the 2009 season. The L. A. Sparks held a ceremony at her last home game. She retired as a three-time WNBA MVP and four-time Olympic gold medal winner. I chose Lisa Leslie because she stands for so much more than just basketball. I chose her because she will not accept the fact that women’s basketball is not as important as men’s basketball. I chose her because she brought life into women’s basketball, for both the Olympics and WNBA.
I mean one of the 1996 Summer Olympic highlights was the women’s basketball team. Most will agree that it was more intense and interesting than the men’s game. When women basketball started in 1997, most would agree, it would not have been as popular without Lisa Leslie. She plays not as a woman or a man, but as an athlete and a player. Ratings showed that the years she was at the top of her game that was the year with the most viewers. It goes to show you, the ratings of the sport fluctuate pending on Lisa’s performance. That’s how much power this one woman had on an entire association.