Lisa Leslie Gets Down to Business
NEW YORK, April 2 -- Lisa Leslie has put up some illustrious numbers in her WNBA career such as the 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, her three WNBA All-Star Game MVPs, her two WNBA titles and that one dunk last July.
But here's the "point average" of which she is most proud: 3.95.
That's Leslie's grade point average as she works toward her Master's degree in business.
"I enjoy being in school," Leslie said. "Iíve learned so much already, with taking economics and law, and I have marketing and statistics coming up next."
Lisa Leslie is dressed for success.|
Andrew D. Bernstein
"Iíll still be in school in-season," Leslie said. "Itís a big challenge for me, but Iíve learned so much already from just the business side of the Sparks organization as well as the WNBA organization.
"Even going to the Tech Summit [at NBA All-Star] Ė theyíre talking about innovation and technology and itís all these things that Iím studying in school, so I feel really good about just continuing my education."
So, what inspired Leslie to hit the books likes she hits the boards?
"As a role model for young girls and women, I just encourage them to continue their education and set their goals," Leslie said. "And for me, mine are just really high and I just happen to be a professional basketball player but I really am a stickler for my goals and I wanted to get my Masterís.
Actually just recently I came up with that idea, watching the movie ďLegally BlondeĒ and I was like, 'cool, thatís something I want to do.'"
In "Legally Blonde," Reese Witherspoon's character makes it into Harvard Law School. Leslie, though drawn to the law, has decided business should be her business.
"Until now, until I actually got into law class, I just never thought of it as being an interest for me, but itís really funny because now that Iím in law [class], Iím like 'Wow, I could be a lawyer,'Ē Leslie said.
"So, now Iíve thought about it, but I donít know that I would set that as a goal for me because I donít know how interested I really am in other peopleís business enough to really find law interesting on a day-to-day basis. But it has been interesting just to study it and the cases and the briefs and things like that."
After earning her Master's, Leslie has another goal in mind. Can you say, "Dr. Leslie"?
"Well, my business organizations teacher, he thinks that I should go for my doctorate because I write really well Ė that was what he said," Leslie said. "And I have a 3.95 right now, so Iím proud about that too. And I donít know, my goal is to get my doctorate afterwards."
If not a doctor, Leslie may try to follow the trail blazed by Los Angeles icon Earvin "Magic" Johnson in the business world. She admits, she'd have big shoes to fill.
"I would like to probably have my own business," Leslie said. "I havenít decided in what areas Ė maybe a spa. I like a day spa, something like that. Always giving back to women. Or big shoes because thereís a huge market there. People have big feet now. Start at maybe size 10 and end at 15 with some really nice, fashionable shoes."
Still, Leslie knows she can't rest on her laurels either on or off the court. Despite being one of the more marketable women athletes on the globe, she still is unfamiliar to some.
"One time, my last professor for economics she said she had heard of me and she actually played ice hockey and then she told her teammates Ė mostly men Ė and then theyíre like 'Lisa Leslie in your class? You donít know who that is?'" Leslie said. "They started telling her all about me. So then sheís like, 'You know, all my teammates are saying why would you be coming back to school when you make enough money?'
"And Iím like, 'Well, itís really not about the money.' Itís just about educating yourself."