The 2013 WNBA rookies with Mikki Taylor, a motivational speaker, author, beauty lifestyle coach and Essence Magazine’s Editor at Large
By Talia Bargil:
As ready as they’ll ever be, the 2013 WNBA rookie class is set to embark on their pro basketball careers.
And after their recent Rookie Orientation Program, hosted by the WNBPA and the WNBA, this group of talented women is making the transition equipped with the priceless knowledge, advice and guidance to succeed at the next level.
“I feel like I have a much better grasp of what I’m getting into now than I did when I first walked into the orientation,” said two-time NCAA Champion Kelly Faris, selected 11th overall by the Connecticut Sun in the 2013 WNBA Draft. “It was very helpful to receive so much information, and I wouldn’t have known any of it had we not been informed properly.”
From seminars and discussions about everything from financial planning, to nutrition, security, media training and etiquette, one of the highlights was a player panel featuring current and retired WNBA players Ruth Riley, Candice Wiggins, Sheryl Swoopes and Teresa Edwards.
“I believe the most insightful part of orientation was when we were able to hear from the veterans and truly listen to their perspective of the league, along with what they expect out of rookies. They have firsthand experience, so it was great to hear from the vets,” said rising star Elena Delle-Donne, selected second overall by the Chicago Sky.
The rookies also were treated to the inspiration of author, beauty lifestyle coach and Essence Magazine’s Editor at Large Mikki Taylor, whose powerful words brought the room to a standing ovation. While focusing on personal style and self-expression, Taylor zeroed in on “six key affirmations to master the journey of where you are and where you want to be,” which included:
· Know Your Value
· Honor Your Ultimate Purpose With Distinction
· Identify Your Style & Establish Your Signature
· Master Your Health & Wellness
· Build Your Spiritual Muscle
· Be The Empowered Woman You Were Called To Be
Taylor was a hard act to follow, but another dressed-to-impress presenter was Rachel Johnson, celebrity stylist and founder of the Thomas Faison Agency. Johnson and her team spoke to the rookies about the importance of professional dress and appearance, including wardrobe, accessories, shoes, nails and hair/makeup.
With their steamer and mascara in hand, the glam squad put their instruction to practice when they invited the ladies to the “W” Lounge, an exclusive reception full of food, fashion and fun. Featuring beauty stations, like manicures, hair and makeup, the “W” Lounge also gave each woman the opportunity to receive personal assistance in putting together their Draft Day looks.
“We are committed to helping our players maximize their potential – on and off of the court – from the day Rookie Orientation begins through their retirement from their playing career and beyond,” said Pam Wheeler, WNBPA Director of Operations. “I can say with confidence that the WNBA and its fans are in for a real treat with this incoming rookie class, a group of talented, competitive and passionate women.”
After an action-packed weekend in Bristol, Conn., the women’s dreams officially became a reality as each heard their name called by WNBA President Laurel Richie at the 2013 WNBA Draft live at ESPN headquarters.
And suffice to say, they are prepared for what lies ahead.
What else are the ladies saying:
"My overall experience was a very positive one that was fun and informative. For me, the most insightful parts were the players and coaches panel and the financial planning section. If I would not have had that orientation, I believe I would have a ton of questions and not sure of what happens.”
---Lindsey Moore, Minnesota Lynx
“It’s hard to pick one part of the Orientation that was my favorite because every section, speaker and handout was informational and key to helping us become successful professional athletes and young women. I love that the WNBPA and the WNBA are investing in partnering along with other organizations to help us become successful in whatever way we see fit.”
---Layshia Clarendon, Indiana Fever
“The whole experience was GREAT! I loved it and learned a lot I didn’t know.”
---Sugar Rodgers, Minnesota Lynx
“I had a great experience at the Orientation. It was very informative about what we were about to take on in life. I would say the most insightful part for me was learning about the logistics of being drafted. Everything from how a contract works, to what is in a contract, to how to handle your money. The business side of everything was very helpful for me. I also really enjoyed getting to know the players off of the court.”
---Kelly Faris, Connecticut Sun
“Orientation was a very enlightening time. I feel like it truly helped to ease the transition process from college to pros. Not only did I learn a lot through the meetings, but I was also able to develop friendships with all of the players in attendance.”
---Elena Delle-Donne, Chicago Sky
A special thanks to our generous “W” Lounge sponsors: FlexPower, Garnier, Nike, Adidas, Wacoal, The Athlete’s Foot, Pooka Pure & Simple, Shea Moisture, Shannon Saint Clair jewelry, Sports Business Journal, Essence Magazine, Vita Coco, Indiana Popcorn and American Pistachio.