One of the common themes of media day at All-Star Weekend on Saturday was women’s basketball. The WNBA is in the middle of a hectic free agency period with several big names changing teams, including Kristi Toliver re-joining the LA Sparks.
LeBron James was one of several players asked about women’s basketball, particularly his advice to little girls (including his daughter Zhuri) playing basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers star delivered with an amazing answer (h/t Bleacher Report’s Ari Chambers who asked the question):
“Well, let me give advice to a little girl, instead of my daughter, because I don’t want my wife to hear that. She’s like, ‘It’s not happening.’ It’s not about a little girl or a little boy or whatever the case may be. If you want to play, then you got to put the work into it. There really can’t be much excuse. You don’t need much to play the game of basketball. My first basketball hoop literally was a milk crate that I cut the bottom out of and nailed it to a telephone pole. Just play it as much as you can, learn about it as much as you can, watch it. You know, I was watching the game of basketball when I was a kid when I wasn’t able to play it but just trying to learn. Learning from the best. Seeing the intricate parts of the game. How important a bounce pass is. How important a chest pass is. How important being a good teammate and things of that nature.
This game, it’s the most beautiful game in the world and it gives back to you what you commit to it and you put all your passion and your love and your joy and your cry and everything. I wish that little girl the best. I hope if she’s playing right now and she’s 13, 14, whatever years of age, I hope she continues to be great and she can inspire my daughter. Much respect to women’s basketball, too.”
James has been a major advocate for women’s basketball for some time and has relationships with many of the WNBA’s brightest talents. While the sport is growing, there are still a lot of hurdles necessary to overcome in order to get to a level of equality between the women’s and men’s games. Having a strong voice like LeBron’s backing the women in that fight is a huge catalyst as they continue to strive towards that goal.
Beyond that, LeBron James has always been outspoken about his desire to inspire and influence kids with his work on and off the basketball court and it truly has been the biggest accomplishment of an incredibly successful career. This is just the latest example but a crucial and well-executed one.