Swin Cash: On a Mission

Swin Cash woke up on New Year’s Day in Dongguan, China, and received a call from her agent. She then hung up the phone and repeated the news in her mind over and over. “I’m going to Chicago.”

After her fourth season with the Seattle Storm, she had had no conversations with the front office about being traded this year. “You hear talk all the time, but you never know if it’s really going to happen,” she said. “I was surprised by the trade.” Mixed emotions swelled inside her as she contemplated the excitement of coming to the Windy City while leaving behind friends and teammates in the Emerald City.

Cash has already accomplished every major feat in women’s basketball: two NCAA championships, three WNBA titles, an Olympic gold medal and a FIBA World Championship gold medal to boot. Most players of her caliber could sit back and rest on the laurels of her illustrious 10-year career – and they would certainly be justified. But Cash believes she still has work to do. “God has given me another opportunity here in Chicago with a franchise that’s hungry to get to the playoffs and get a championship,” she said. “For me, that’s a new challenge and I look forward to it.”

If anyone is up for a challenge, it’s Cash, who relishes turning obstacles into one more item off the checklist. In 2008, she was left off the women’s national team that represented the USA in the Beijing Olympics. “That hurt, but it put me on a mission and helped me get laser-focused,” Cash said. “I had to make some sacrifices the last few years. It humbled me and made me even more hungry.” In March, Cash was selected to represent the country at the 2012 Olympics in London this summer. Check.

The 6’1” do-it-all forward suffered two devastating injuries – a torn ACL in 2004 and a herniated disc for which she had surgery in 2008 – but she returned to help win a WNBA title after each setback. While sitting out much of the 2005 season rehabbing her knee, Cash refused to feel sorry for herself. Instead, she felt inspired to help other youth to stay physically fit and active by setting up her Cash for Kids Foundation. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Cash said of her desire to help youth in need. “I grew up from humble beginnings and helping others was something that’s been instilled in me from a young age.” On some days, Cash’s mother, Cynthia, would take her children to work at food banks to feed the hungry. On other days, they were the ones receiving food from the other volunteers.

Today, Cash helps with President Barack Obama’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative in addition to her own Cash Building Blocks organization, which helps place struggling families into homes. For her work, she has met with Obama and former president George W. Bush. “I’ve been in a unique position where I’ve been able to do a lot of work with my charity,” she said. “Some people don’t think they’ll ever meet two sitting presidents. It’s been pretty amazing to not only meet them for sports but to meet them because of community service.” Check and check.

Cash feels like she’ll settle right into Chicago, where fans appreciate blue-collared work ethic and where she hopes to achieve the unique distinction of winning a title with three separate teams. The other two were in Detroit and Seattle. “I feel comfortable here,” Cash said. “I loved Detroit because the people were so hard-working. It reminded me of Pittsburgh and it’s the same here in Chicago. “I think everything happens for a reason and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.”

Obviously, the top item on the agenda is to lead the Sky to its first playoffs appearance in team history. But Cash has one more little item to take care of: After she arrived and took an elevator at O’Hare Airport, she noticed it had a button for each major sports team in Chicago – except the Sky. “Man, my goal is to put a button in that elevator for the Chicago Sky,” she laughed. If Cash is on it, consider it checked.

Check out more articles, photos, videos, and more of Swin below:
Swin's Website
Swin Cash at the Bulls Game
Swin March Meet and Greet
A Visit from Swin Cash
Swin in London
Swin in London Photo Gallery
Swin and Sylvia named to 2012 Olympics Team