Swin Cash: More Than a Basketball Player

Shock captain Swintayla Marie Cash is an Olympic gold medalist, a two-time WNBA champion and a two-time NCAA title winner at Connecticut. Her name means "astounding woman" in Swahili, and appropriately so. While she has accomplished so much in the game of basketball and is still going strong in her sixth season, it is her off-court endeavors that make her the proudest.

"I love basketball, but basketball is not all that I am," she says.

A modern-day renaissance woman, Cash is also an NBA analyst for ESPN, a creator of a clothing line and a leader for her charity, "Cash for Kids," which provides financial support for youth activities in Detroit and her hometown of McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

"It was important for me because I come from humble beginnings and I understand what it means to give back and I understand how that can touch and change a child's life."

The charity is a very personal accomplishment for Cash.

"I think one of the biggest moments for me was when we went in and renovated an all-girls alternative school in Detroit because that school represented everything that my mother did not have growing up, and if she would have had a school like that, maybe she would have had a different outcome in her life."

Fortunately, Cash was not confined by her modest beginnings. Basketball brought her to the University of Connecticut where she studied communication science and helped her team to two NCAA titles. This past NBA season she applied her degree, serving as a studio analyst for NBA games on ESPN.

Shock coach Bill Laimbeer is supportive of her TV work and believes her appearances on ESPN are important both for Cash and all young women.

"There are lots of female athletes on TV. Is it important? Yes, especially for Swin because it's what she wants to do."

For Cash, the most rewarding aspect of being an ESPN analyst is not the money or the attention, but the respect she receives.

"I get the same respect in the studio that Greg Anthony gets, the same respect that Tim Legler gets, and that is what really counts for me, that people value my opinion and they understand that I understand the game."

Cash not only understands the game but has used the game to try to make herself a household name. She has launched her own clothing line, which, according to her website, inspires "stylish creativity, positive self respect and a heightened sense of worth," all characteristics that the Detroit captain exemplifies in her everyday life.

While Laimbeer jokes that he has never bought Cash's clothing because nothing would fit him, he points out that "Swin is very conscious of being a role model both on and off the court."

Cash's goals extend beyond basketball, and at the heart of it all she pursues her goal to empower and open doors for women.

"For me you have to see the big picture. For me it's not about right now. It is about 10, 15 years from now. What is Swin Cash going to be doing? What impact did I make in this world?"

Swintayla Marie Cash, astounding woman, is much more than just basketball.

Basketball, power, heart and beauty. "All those words…" she says, "they explain who I am."