Q&A: Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie is already a legend in women's basketball. She has won two WNBA Championships, three Olympic gold medals and two World Championship golds. Absent from the basketball scene this year after giving birth to her daughter, Lauren Jolie Lockwood, Leslie expects to be back in uniform soon. Leslie discussed her upcoming book, Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You, along with her new role on the United States Senior National Team with WNBA.com's Lauren Brill.
Q. You spoke to the U.S. Senior National Team players recently at a practice. What advice did you give them?
A. "With the USA Team, I was just telling them that the target has gotten a lot bigger on our backs and it is definitely going to take us being selfless for us to win. Making that extra pass and not really caring about your points, your assists, your stats. None of that matters when you put on the USA uniform. It is one thing to represent your city and play in the WNBA, but it is another to represent your country.
I told them I can honestly say with having three gold medals and two world championship gold medals, I can't remember how many points I scored or who did what. But you always remember those losses. And I have two bronze medals. I told them you always remember when you lose, but when you win the whole team gets the credit and that is what we have to keep our eye on. It is just playing together and staying together no matter what.
Obviously with this very young group, chemistry is going to be important. So I just talked to them about the importance of staying together and finding leadership and for people being open to criticism or someone getting in your face and asking you and challenging you, 'Is that the best you can do?'"
Q. Are you excited to eventually come back and join the team?
A. "I am just looking forward to coming back, playing with them and helping them to understand that when I come back, I may not be the leading scorer. But my job in coming back early will be to help them to be better."
Q. When do you expect to join the team?
A. "My goal is to join them for the college tour."
Q. This is a very young team. How important do you feel your role will be as a veteran leader?
A. "When I was younger, there was a lot of competition between the younger and veteran players. But we eventually realized that we needed them and they needed us. So as a veteran now, it feels good to be in this position where I'm able to pass down knowledge and information and do whatever I can to make us better as a team. It may not necessarily be by scoring points or by what I do on the boards, but just my presence, being out there and leading us... I am looking forward to that."
Q. You have written a book. What is it about?
A. "My book is entitled Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You and it's about me, my life and inspiring girls to go for their goals and not to be defined by what it is that they do. Besides basketball, I have done broadcasting, modeling, you name it. I am in real estate right now, working on commercial real estate. The book is really just about the challenges of life. The book will cover basically my whole life."
Q. Who inspired you to be the person you are today?
A. "Definitely my mom. That is something I talked about in the book. She became a truck driver and had to leave her kids just to pursue a better lifestyle for us. It was inspiring, yet it was a very difficult thing to do. That has inspired me to work hard for my family and do the best that I can in everything I do."