Sutton-Brown shines on court, in community

June 18, 2009 | By Amber Harding
Most Indiana Fever faithful would agree that Tammy Sutton-Brown’s 250 WNBA starts and 1,503 career rebounds are certainly impressive. For many fans, however, Sutton-Brown is most admirable for her contributions off the basketball court.

In December 2008, just a few days after Christmas, Sutton-Brown held her first annual Spa Day at Street Haven in downtown Toronto, Canada. Street Haven is a residential shelter for approximately 30 women in need of safe housing. Sutton-Brown’s goal was to provide for them a day of pampering that would help to relieve some of the stress for those who have fallen on hard times.

“I know that I have so much stress in this game, and I can only imagine how much stress they may feel,” she said. “We make a feel-good day and, hopefully, take their mind off the day-to-day worries for a few hours.”

On Sunday, June 14, Sutton-Brown shared her spa day experience with the Julian Center in Indianapolis. With the help of Mystique Salon and Day Spa, the Fever star was able to provide the residents with manicures, pedicures, spa treatments, massages and even haircuts.

“We (professional athletes) are so fortunate in what we do, and we’re so blessed in a lot of things,” Sutton-Brown said. “Just having the opportunity to do that was incredible.”

While Sutton-Brown describes her spa day experiences as rewarding ones, she has also found other ways to reach out to her community. In August 2008, she launched the Tammy Sutton-Brown Girls’ Basketball Camp in Markham, Ontario. Her goal was not only to share her hoop knowledge with the participants, but also to discuss the life skills necessary for success.

Sutton-Brown’s inspiration for this camp arose from her experiences as a young female athlete in Toronto. In Canada, she said, the idea of women in sports is not as widely embraced as it is in the United States, and not many opportunities exist for young girls to take the court.

“I just wanted to go back and give them some good instruction,” she said. “I wanted to give them an opportunity to play.”

As an advocate of women’s athletics, Sutton-Brown understands the importance of the WNBA, not only for its players but also for the fans and the young women who aspire to play professional basketball.

“It’s a real family atmosphere,” she said. “I think it brings everyone together when they come to our games.”

Although Sutton-Brown believes that parents are the most important role models in a child’s life, she understands that, as a pro athlete, she assumes a part of the responsibility as well. While setting an example of charitable contributions, Sutton-Brown also stresses the importance of education and a healthy mind and body.

While she doesn’t yet have a full-fledged, established charitable foundation, Sutton-Brown said that beginning such an organization is a future goal of hers. She believes that, even after her basketball career, giving back to her community will remain a priority in her life.

“I’m starting things now, and, hopefully, I’ll continue it over the years,” she said.

On Thursday, June 18, fans will have the opportunity to speak to Sutton-Brown on Twitter – about basketball, her philanthropy and anything in between. A live chat will be held at 8:30 p.m., and she can be reached on Twitter @TKSB15.