Inside the minds of WNBA players and legends

This is Our Game: Lynette Woodard

Hall-of-Famer Lynette Woodard
Jennifer Pottheiser /NBAE/Getty Images
Hall-of-Famer Lynette Woodard graduated from Kansas in the early 1980's as the all-time leading scorer in women's college basketball history and went on to play in leagues all over the world, including the WNBA, for twenty years. But she did not become a real globetrotter until she, in fact, became a real Globetrotter. Woodard made history by becoming the first female Harlem Globetrotter and toured with the team for two years before returning to competition. She also captained the 1984 Olympic squad that captured gold in Los Angeles. Upon retiring in 1999, Woodard returned to the University of Kansas as an assistant coach and currently works as a a financial analyst near her home in Wichita, Kansas and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.

Q. During your career, what was your motivation when don't feel like working out, running that extra mile, or waking up early?
"I really didn't need a lot of motivation per se. I knew I was in a special place. It was a privilege for me to go out and play the game I love. I would have played for free. To have the opportunity to do it and get compensated for that, I never once took it for granted. I always knew that I could be injured in one move and sitting out. Coach doesn't like you, you can be sitting on the bench or cut. A lot can happen. But to have had the opportunity for so long twenty years ago when women's basketball was not what is now, we were trying just to get a basket on the end of the court, practice time and the rest. There were a lot of challenges back then."

Q. Was there a time in your life of playing basketball when you thought about giving up the game?
"There was never a time I wanted to give up. I wanted to play forever."

Q. What else drives you? What other goals you've set for yourselves off the court or are you currently pursuing?
"You always talk about taking the experiences of the game and transferring it to your life in whatever that may be. You will always have challenges, but as long as I have life, health, strength, love of family and friends, I feel like I have it all and I will find a way to make it no matter what. That attitude comes from the game. You might have a press on you or turn the ball over, but I've learned that you have to huddle up. Whether that is yoga or prayer or a hobby or whatever it is that you do, you calm yourself down and go back out there and figure out how to get it done. The game taught me."

Q. So what is harder, playing professional basketball or working as a financial analyst?
"The elements of both are hard. I love the game and love to play. I was born with that rhythm. I also love the financial world and that community. It's a challenge. I take the things that I learned from the game and I used them every day. But there is nothing like getting out there on that hardwood. We don't have an office team yet."