I’m in my first semester of college – eleven hours away from home – and also a former basketball player and multi-sport athlete. Throughout every phase in my life, I can never seem to abandon the “basketball player” in me. I find myself looking for (and fangirling over) Black women succeeding (and ABSOLUTELY killing it) everywhere I go.
With the second half of the WNBA season in full swing, I am in “fangirl heaven” because I get to watch some exceptional women play the sport I love– and I STAN IT ALL!
Players like A’ja Wilson and Dearica Hamby are some of the QUEENS that I absolutely love as players.These women– excuse me, these BLACK women– dominate both on and off the field in various ways. Now we all know Black women to be multifaceted, tenacious, and enterprising, and these women embody all of these characteristics.
Listen I don’t know if any of you have played competitive basketball, but this sport is no easy job. I played in junior high and high-school and…WHEW! So when I see A’ja Wilson out here like this…
And Dearica Hamby out here like…
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) August 27, 2021
Welp, I can only tell you that these women are the best of the best competing in the WNBA, which only intensifies my admiration for these players!
The Las Vegas Aces is one of the top five teams in the WNBA, and their leading scorer and rebounder (19.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG) is none other than South Carolina native, A’ja Wilson. Wilson was the overall #1 Pick of the 2018 WNBA Draft and 2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year. So it’s no question whether “she’s good” or not: SHE IS. During the second half of the 2021 season, she led her team in points to guide a win over the Washington Mystics on Aug. 15 and rebounds to guide a win over the Mystics again on Aug. 17.
She isn’t just a leader on the court; she’s one off the court as well. She’s the founder of the “A’ja Wilson Foundation,” which serves as a resource for children and families who are affected by dyslexia, and also has an awareness group that educates people about bullying. Wilson is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
And oh, do we LOVE a “Divine 9” Queen? YES, WE DO.
A’ja Wilson doesn’t do it by herself either. She has another one of my favorite players on her team for support: Dearica Hamby. While Hamby isn’t a leading scorer or rebounder, she affects the game– and can POP OFF– when she’s on the floor. She was the overall #16 Pick of the 2015 WNBA Draft– so she’s a vet to the game. In 2019 and 2020, she was voted “Sixth Woman of the Year,” and during 2020 season, she averaged a career high in points, assists, steals, and 3-PT field goal percentage per game (13.0 PPG, 2.7 AST, 1.7 STL, 47.4% 3PT- FG%).
She’s also getting those coins off the court, too! She is one of 11 WNBA players sponsored by the Jordan brand. And what really takes the cake? She’s a mother! Hamby has a four-year old daughter, Amaya, who is a frequent guest at practice, on the All-Stars game red carpet, and in the WNBA bubble for the first half of the 2021 season.
How can you not love a woman who has figured out how to enjoy being a mother AND follow her dreams?
As the season continues, and with just four games left, I’m not sure how the Las Vegas Aces will do. But what I do know is, A’ja Wilson and Dearica Hamby will continue to be some of my favorite players in the league because they encompass what I believe “Black Girl Magic” to be: doing everything you want to do and being BEYOND exceptional while doing it!
While I don’t think I’ll ever play for the WNBA (I DEFINITELY left that life in high-school), I will constantly look to these two players and many more for encouragement and motivation that I can accomplish all of my goals with tenacity, give back to my community, and be a wife and mother.
Alexa, play “Superwoman” by Alicia Keys, PUHLEASE!