Basketball player Lisa Leslie says setting goals and writing them down was the secret to her success. That, along with a persistent, driven personality, led her to WNBA stardom and four Olympic medals.
Lisa always knew she wanted to inspire people -- and while she was practicing signing her autograph from the age of seven, it took her a bit longer to figure out where she'd make her mark.
She was always tall (she was over five feet by kindergarten), but didn't start playing basketball until junior high school, at which point she was already over six feet tall. Lisa excelled at the game, fueled by a combination of natural talent and hard work, along with some advice her mother gave her to write down her goals. Lisa says she's been writing down her goals, both long term and short term, ever since, and committing to them. Among the goals that basketball helped her achieve in those early days? A scholarship to the University of Southern California and a trip to the Olympics.
She thought her basketball career might end there, as it did for most female players during that time, but the WNBA started up in 1997 and Lisa became one of its biggest stars, playing for the Los Angeles Sparks. Being a professional, she says, made her step up her game, and it also made her realize that she was a role model.
Lisa retired from basketball in 2009 after winning three WNBA MVP awards and four Olympic medals. Since then, she's enjoyed being a mom to her two children, gotten her MBA from the University of Phoenix, and started on a new role as the co-owner of the LA Sparks. Today, Lisa says she's happy to still be involved in the game with her old team and thankful for all that sports have given her.
She's also giving back to the next generation with her Lisa Leslie Basketball Academy. She hopes to inspire young kids to learn about the game, and also to teach them to approach life with the same level of enthusiasm she had for basketball.