When it comes to making power moves, Lisa Leslie’s career success is a slam-dunk. During her 13 seasons (1997-2009) with the Los Angeles Sparks, she won two WNBA championships; three WNBA Most Valuable Player awards in 2001, 2004, and 2006; and four gold medals as a member of the U.S. Basketball Women’s national teams in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. She recently partnered with Boston Market to launch the “Take a Side Against Fried” campaign to promote healthy meal options for busy families.Â And, to top it all off, she’s a wife and mother of two, juggling family demands and a post retirement career as co-host of We Need To Talk on CBS Sports, a brand ambassador, and a motivational speaker.
As Leslie prepares for her upcoming induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the Olympic gold medalist to talk about some of the most powerful lessons she’s learned during her career journey.
BlackEnterprise: What does it mean to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?
Leslie: I am really humbled and excited to be a part of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It took a lot of hard work but I did not get here alone. I had so much support from teammates, coaches and family. It seems unfair that only I get an award.
Now that you’re married with children, how do you manage your career and family life?
It takes a lot of discipline and organization. I rely on my calendar and alarms. Plus, I have lots of help. I have a supportive husband, Michael, and my mom and sister always pitch in as well. It takes a village.
Beyond being known as a three-time WNBA MVP, what do you want your legacy to be?
I would love to be known as a person who really gave her all in everything she did, as a wife, mom, athlete, captain, teammate, and businesswoman. Along the way, I have met some wonderful people. I have helped people and received so much in return. I am just thankful for journey.
What makes you feel confident?
Winning makes me feel confident. At first, it was winning in sports. Now it is winning at life. Meeting the goals I set for myself makes me feel very confident.
What wise words do you have for your 12-year-old self?
I would say: Give up sugar as soon as possible. Pass on the candy and substitute yogurt. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Your body is your vehicle and it needs the best fuel.
What’s the most incredible lesson you’ve learned as a woman in business?
The lesson is the same I learned from basketball: 10% is the task and 90% is how you approach it. Choose a positive attitude, both on the court and in the boardroom.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
How silly I am. I love to laugh. I am also a homebody. If I could entertain and cook for family and friends every weekend, I would be happy.