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Lisa Lesley, wonder woman in American basketball

NBA was evolving slowly and its popularity grew with the appearance of famous players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant. Their shots, assists, and blocks left the spectators in the stands and in front of the TV breathless.

However, passionate fans noticed that Women’s basketball developed in parallel with NBA in the USA.  

Teresa EdwardsKatrina McClain, and Nancy Liebermann were names that caught a lot of attention with their trophies and performances. After them, one lady made a boom on the U.S. basketball stage. Lisa Lesley, ladies, and gentlemen. We are going to cover her story in the next couple of paragraphs.

How did Lisa’s basketball road begin actually?

The first couple of weeks in middle school were very interesting for Lesley as she was asked to help out the basketball team.

In a competition for a position in a team, two groups were made for layup drills: lefties and righties. Lisa stood in a group for the lefties alone, so she changed her mind and went to other groups. It turned out that decision pushed her to become able to use both hands equally well.

Eventually, in eighth grade, this lady was sent to junior high school where she joined the boys’ basketball squad.

What occurred after middle school with Leslie?

After middle school, education continued for 14-year-old Lisa Leslie at Morningside High School in Inglewood. Starting every single game was a great introduction to her sophomore year in high school.

As a sophomore, Lisa ended the season being the best scorer and rebounder in the team. Leading her team to the State Championship in 1989 recommended her to be invited to the U.S. Junior World Championship team.

Joining the senior team Leslie averaged 27 points and 15 rebounds per fixture. Scoring 101 points in one single game was only icing on the cake in the high school’s title-winning season.

How did the time in college go for Lisa?

Lisa enrolled at the University of Southern California (USC) in 1990 where she joined the mighty women’s basketball team right away. Ending USC with a bachelor’s degree in communication was followed by graduating with her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Overall, Leslie took part in 120 college games scoring 20.1 points per fixture. Hitting 53.4 % of her shots and scoring 69.8% of her free throws attracted the WNBA scouts.

How successful was her professional career in WNBA?

After getting multiple recognitions in college part of career, Lisa was ready for a new step in her basketball path. The women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) was embodied in 1996 and subsequently, the first season was held in 1997. Before the start of the season, Lesley was picked in the Summer Draft pool by the Los Angeles Sparks.

Ex-college star contributed tremendously to team success as they reached the playoff five times in a row. In 2001, the Los Angeles team finally won the league with Lesley being named 2001 Sportswoman of the Year at the team’s level.

How good performances Lesley had in the U.S. national squad?

The former high school star was part of the U.S. National Team in four consecutive Olympic Games and won four gold medals.

Lisa’s 35 points against Japan in the semi of the 2000 Olympic Games in Atlanta became the USA Olympic women’s scoring record in one fixture. Third Leslie’s Olympics were significant because she set records for the total number of points, rebounds, and shot-blocker in U.S. history in that competition.

Also, this extremely talented lady won two golds with the USA at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, which were held in Germany and China respectively.

What happened with Lisa after she retired from WNBA?

After retiring from the most popular 5×5 national basketball women’s league on the planet, Lisa searched for new challenges. The most interesting to her came up from Ice Cube’s Big3 in 2019 when she received a call to take charge of the team Triplets.

Triplets picked Alan Anderson, Chris Johnson, and Jannero Pargo from the Draft Pool strengthening the squad that already involved Joe JohnsonAl Jefferson, and Jannero Pargo.

This team ended the regular season with an amazing seven victories and one defeat, so they qualified for the playoff convincingly. Winning against Three Headed Monsters in the semi-final game and Killer 3s later in the final brought Lisa’s squad mythological first title in Fireball.

Lisa continued to receive recognition after her WNBA career as she was named 2019 Big3 Coach of The Year.


How did Lisa handle the pressure of defending the title?

Following the successful 2019 season, coach Leslie had to motivate her players to stay focused on tasks in the 2021 season. After all, the pandemic forced all Big3 starts to train at home and kept them from the court for two years.

According to the rules, Triplets didn’t have the right to pick players from the Draft since they had won the championship in the previous campaign. Jamario Moon replaced Chris Johnson in the squad which was very ambitious before the start of Big3’s fourth season.

The team under Lisa’s charge managed to qualify for the Top 4 teams, but was defeated against Three Headed Monsters in the semis with 51-39. Unfortunately, Leslie’s fantasies about winning the second trophy in a row were ruined against inspired Rashard Lewis and his teammates.

What result did Lisa Leslie achieve with Triplets in the 2022 campaign?

Despite a disappointing loss in the semifinal game in the previous season, fans of Triplets had high hopes entering a new edition of the competition. Subsequently, Alonzo Gee and Ryan Hollins were brought in to bolster the quality inside the roster.

Lesley’s strategy and tactic didn’t result in good performances for the team as they ended the season with a 2-4 score in 11th place.

What does Leslie’s work off the court look like?

Lisa Lesley created Basketball & Leadership Academy which is open every Saturday and welcomes boys and girls aged from 7 to 17 years. She and her husband received help from a couple of coaches in working with kids on fundamentals of the game: layups, in-and-out dribble, and proper rebounding.

Parents of kids are very satisfied with the quality of the training session praising Lisa’s devotion and commitment to this gigantic project.

Sharing meaningful messages with young boys and girls eager to learn about basketball is simply an irresistible sight for any neutral viewer. Lisa Lesley is teaching constantly that 90 percent of any success is mental and 10% is physical. Discussing themes like the significance of leaving a good first impression on somebody and keeping eye contact is precious to kids.

This interactive environment is convenient for developing new talents who can become capable to change the face of basketball in the future. Of course, Lesley is aware that surrounding like Basketball &Leadership academy can increase the level of confidence in her students.

After winning so many medals and accolades, Lisa can be proud of what she has achieved in the world of women’s basketball. Lesley spread the virtue of modesty and work ethic and inspired so many young ladies to start their basketball careers. Lectures that our hero of the story got on the road to fame were valuable assets.

Lisa Lesley is now able to give those pieces of advice to younger generations and pass on that legacy. Is she going to win another trophy in Big3 in upcoming campaigns? We have to be patient to see the answer to that one-million-dollar question.

About the author

Marjan Nikolic

Passionate sports guy, coming from the eastern Europe where best basketball is played (yeah, I know you will not agree!). Dynamic 3x3 basket has special place in my heart.

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