Shyra Ely: The Entrepeneur
I had a great off season! After the WNBA season, I didn't immediately go overseas. I recently bought a house in Indy so I wanted to enjoy it a little and spend the holidays with my family.
During my time at home, I was able to get my business off the ground, so that was my primary focus. “Styles by Ms. Ely” is my fashion consulting business. I have targeted the women's basketball community. I have had an outpouring of support and I am so thankful and blessed to be able to integrate and share my love for both fashion and basketball.
I accepted an offer to play in China for 2 months. It was bitter sweet because I had to miss Christmas and New Year's with my family. I'll have to say that my teammates in China were so thoughtful and sensitive to me being away from home. They each gave me small gifts and my coach even gave me Christmas day off!
This was my 2nd stint in China. In 2006, I played in Beijing. This season I played in Nanjing, Jiangsu. I played for a very young team. The oldest player was 22. This team wanted to ensure that they would make the playoffs and not drop to the 2nd division so they brought in an American. The WCBA is a very fast, physical league. I think I played well. I think this was one of my best scoring seasons. I had about five 30-plus point games. So that was definitely a confidence booster and I hope to have that carry over to the WNBA season. At the end of the season we were ranked 6th out of 12 teams and when I first arrived they were 11th out of 12.
I tried to make the most of my experience in China. China is different from other countries as far as your life outside of basketball. You don't have much of a social life. The whole team stays in a hotel. The girls do everything together. It really reminded me of college. I never felt like a 26-year-old professional. Although, they gave me more freedom. Sometimes I felt bad for my teammates because they would have to ask for a small "holiday" just to leave the hotel. Other times when we traveled to different cities we could shop and enjoy ourselves if our schedules allowed. I learned some Chinese. I tried to be open-minded and try different foods. I'm not a picky eater and I like trying new foods, but I could not try everything. I really had a great time and I was able to work remotely with my “Styles by Ms. Ely” clients. I have other business ventures that I was also able to develop while I was in China. I will share them with you as these projects develop, but they include a denim line for tall, fashionable women, and a full service wellness spa. I am so excited!
I'm looking forward to another great summer in Chicago! See you all at Allstate Arena!!
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