Lobo returns home, will get married and hopes to resurrect her career

Home State of Mind

NEW YORK, March 25 -- On Feb. 14 when she returned to her home state to join the Connecticut Sun, Rebecca Lobo changed WNBA teams for the third time.

In April, she will change her name for the first time.

Lobo is looking to make a name for herself again.
Andrew D. Bernstein
NBAE/Getty Images
No need to be confused. She will still be Rebecca Lobo in your programs whenever you go to a Sun game. But when she marries Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin, she will change the name of one of the most famous female athletes of the second half of the 20th Century.

"I�m going to change my name for everything except for basketball," Lobo said. "I think people have come to know me on the court as Rebecca Lobo so I�ll stay that on the court, but everything else -- legally and otherwise � I will now be Rebecca Rushin."

Change has come quickly to Lobo. In addition to her impending nuptials, Lobo will be suiting up for her third WNBA team in as many years.

After averaging 12.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while not missing a game in her first two seasons with the New York Liberty, Lobo tore her ACL in 1999. She was well on her way in her rehabilitation when she tore the reconstructed ligament in December of that year. She has played in only 38 games since. Despite not playing, Lobo was a constant fixture on the bench during her rehab.

"It was really important to me because I missed being on the court, but even more so, I missed just being with my teammates," Lobo said, "being with that family and people I�ve worked so hard with for a couple of years.

"So that was where I kept my sanity by spending time with those guys and getting to go to games and cheer them on. That was a time I looked forward to."

This season, she'll look forward to being home. Lobo will suit up for the Sun in Uncasville, Conn., 47 miles from Hartford, Conn. where she was born and a mere 30 miles from the University of Connecticut, where she made her name by leading the Huskies to a perfect 35-0 record in 1995.

Lobo appreciates that she's still able to put on a uniform.

"I�m still pretty much living a dream life," Lobo said. "I never thought I�d have the opportunity to play basketball professionally in this country, so yeah, I�ve had some obstacles with the two injuries, but I feel like those are behind me and I still have the opportunity to play here.

"I�ve been blessed with so many things that I can�t complain about an injury that I can recover from, especially when people are dealing with life-threatening illnesses or situations in their life that are much worse than a knee injury that prevents you from playing a professional sport. And I�m just blessed with a great family and great friends and all of that, so I don�t really have anything to complain about."

Once one of the elite players in the game, Lobo has modest personal goals for this season.

"Every player wants to play a lot of minutes and get out there every game and do what they can do, but at the same time the injury put things in perspective," Lobo said. "For the longest time, my only goal was to get back on the court and to be able to play � to be able to practice and then to be able to be in a game situation, so I�m not going to cry over the fact that I�m not getting as many minutes as I�d like.

"Instead, you have to look at it like I have this great opportunity now and if I want to get more minutes, I have to go out there and earn them. And that�s kind of the attitude I have now."

You could almost say Lobo has learned to adjust on the fly. She's applying those lessons learned to planning her wedding, which she never really dreamed of as a kid.

"Because I�ve never as a girl or as an adult day-dreamed about what my wedding would be like and my dress and the flowers or any of this," Lobo said. "I had no idea because that was never something that I thought about.

"I wasn�t one of those little girls, so we�re kind of going into this, neither of us having an idea and just trying to make it as nice as we can."

And is he providing wedding-planning assistance?

"He�s been good, he�s really helped me with the things that are important to him," Lobo said. "He helped pick the band and make sure the catering was good but he�s leaving things like the flowers and the videographer and those kind of details to me, which is fine. He�s been great about it."