• Print

Adia’s Dreams Come True

It was a chilly evening last Wednesday when Seattle Storm forward Adia Barnes greeted fans coming to that evening's Sonics games while soliciting donations for her charitable foundation, Adia's Dreams in Action. Though Barnes was wearing a coat, she confessed to feeling a bit cold after spending most of her winter in her native San Diego. Still, Barnes was in her element. A natural saleswoman, Barnes talked up the Storm and her foundation to curious passers-by. All in a day's work as Barnes attempts to get her fledgling foundation off the ground.


Barnes speaks during her induction into the UA Sports Hall of Fame.
Storm Photos
Wednesday's toy drive was the culmination of a busy week in Seattle for Barnes as she bounced from place to place, continually pushing Adia's Dreams in Action.

"Saturday alone I did three things," Barnes recalled. "I've been involved with the Seattle Police Department, yesterday I was at a practice, I had two clinics. I've done a lot, and I'm trying to do what I can to raise money. I want this to be a good thing and I want to make a difference in a lot of kids' lives."

That goal, making a difference in the lives of kids, was why Barnes started Adia's Dreams in Action last season. Barnes was already involved in the Storm's efforts in the community, including speaking at local schools and giving clinics last season when she was one of three players to participate in the team's off-season "Stormin' the Sound" campaign, but wanted to do more.

"I think I want to make a difference in children's lives, and if I'm in a position to make a difference, or to give something back, I want to do it," Barnes explained. "Seattle's a community that supported me so much, so that's why I wanted to give something back, I want to help children. A lot of children go without Christmas gifts, and so if I can make a difference in even one child's life, I've done a great thing."

Barnes kicked off the foundation with a silent auction of Storm items at the Aug. 23 Houston game, and has donated items to High Point Elementary School in Seattle. In addition, Barnes also participated this month in Miami Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau's Shop With a Jock program in San Diego. Barnes describes her charitable work as "a passion", and hopes to continue it even after her playing career is over.

"After basketball, I can still continue to help kids. ... It will always be there," Barnes said. "Especially once you start, once the ball starts to roll, it will keep on going and it will be a bigger and better thing."

Barnes achieved some of her dreams of a different nature when she was inducted in the University of Arizona's Sports Hall of Fame earlier this winter. During Arizona's homecoming weekend, Nov. 7-8, Barnes was honored along with six other Wildcats stars. The first Arizona women's basketball player to be drafted by the WNBA or any other professional league, Barnes also became the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"It was great," Barnes said. "I hadn't been back to Arizona in a few years, and just to be in the Hall of Fame at the University of Arizona and know all the history, it's amazing. And to be the first women's basketball player, I think I was really honored and humbled. It was great to be back. I met women who played thirty, forty years ago, before Title IX and everything, and it's amazing to see. Those were the pioneers, just like I'm the pioneer, one of the pioneers of the WNBA, these are the pioneers who set the stage for us. And I think that was exciting. We won't talk about the speech I gave, but everything else went great."

Barnes also enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with the other inductees, including several who were her contemporaries at Arizona - and some who were not.

"The inductees, we all hung out," said Barnes. "It was cool because three of the girls, we all went to school together. So that was neat, just to see them again, how we've changed. Some have families and stuff, and I'm still playing basketball. It's kind of cool. Two of the inductees were probably over 60 years old, so it was kind of, here I am, 26, being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and it's this tremendous honor."

The next dream for Barnes is to get back out onto the court as she continues to rehabilitate her knee injury, something she believes should happen within the first month or two - the end to five months of rest and rehabilitation that were at times frustrating.

"Oh, I can't wait. You just can't imagine," Barnes said about being cleared to plan. "I walk by a gym, I see everybody playing and I'm like, 'Gosh, I wish I could play'. You don't realize what you have until it's gone. I think that not being able to go out there and play eats you up inside, and I want to be back and ready for next season. I will be."

So far, Barnes' rehab has gone very well. Doctors have told her that her knee is in better shape than 95% of players, and, after a two-month break, she was able to resume working out on her own, including shooting drills. As a result, Barnes doesn't believe the injury is going to keep her from developing as much as she did last year, when she went from a long-distance liability to one of the Storm's best shooters.

"I think there is no good timing for an injury, but I think that was the best timing because it was halfway through the season, so by the time next season comes around, I'm like ten months," Barnes explained. "That's a long time and that's plenty of time to rehab and I think I haven't lost anything. I've been shooting."

A return to the court also means Barnes is close to rejoining her Storm teammates, who she has missed during the winter. Barnes describes her relationship with the rest of the Storm as a special one.

"I love my team", she said. "I think my team is awesome. We have great chemistry. … We have a great group of girls, and it's a special thing. I've been on other teams where it's like, 'Ugh, I have to go back to my teammates'. I look forward to seeing these girls again, and it's exciting. That's the kind of team I want to be a part of. I want to be happy. I want to have fun playing basketball."

Having great teammates is important, but it's just one of Barnes' many dreams come true.

Visit the Adia's Dreams in Action homepage at adiasdreamsinaction.org.