By Aishwarya Kumar Lakshminarayanapuram
The Whitney Young Dolphins don’t usually wear make up with their practice uniforms. But this wasn’t an ordinary practice Friday.
Chicago Sky’s forward Tamera Young and pop-star Michelle Williams were on hand for a special conversation with the team. Their excitement was palpable, as the players wanted to look good for pictures with their celebrity visitors.
.@tyoung11 visited the No. 5 Whitney Young girls basketball team today! pic.twitter.com/J15owiDIPf
— CHICAGO SKY (@wnbachicagosky) January 22, 2016
The one-hour sit-down between Destiny Child’s Williams, Young and the Dolphins on Friday was a result of Centric TV’s collaboration with Williams’ efforts to make documentaries on the lives of women basketball players. Centric TV focuses on African-American women and the Whitney Young Dolphins’ reputation and success made them the natural choice for a discussion on women and basketball.
“Oh my God, it was like a dream” said junior center Ashanti Andrews. “I am a big Destiny Child fan, I have always listened to her songs, I know everything about her, her songs, her tours and it was amazing that I got to talk to her.”
With the ladies of the Whitney Young basketball team and Tamera Young of the #WNBA @ChicagoSky! #Being @CENTRICTV pic.twitter.com/0uafMkulcy
— Michelle Williams (@RealMichelleW) January 22, 2016
Young spoke about the challenges of being a female athlete, the expectations, and how to raise to the top. Junior forward Sloane Kistinger said, “the experience gave me and the team a direct vision into the lives of a female star.”
The takeaway from the interaction for the team was the first-person advice they got from Young. The profession comes with sacrifices, long-hours and hard work. Young advised them to take the extra step in everything they do.
“We all really look up to Tamera Young because she is an amazing athlete and she made it to the top and it was great to see her give back to the community,” said freshman forward Brooklyn Fort-Davis. “They were laidback, free and open and it was great to see these great celebrities as normal people. It felt like they were trying to help us figure out our way as we begin our adulthood.”
The transition from high school to college and pro ball was an interesting topic for the team. Young advised them that the shift from school to college would be the most difficult because everybody is going to be good and “you need to set yourself apart from the rest to succeed.”
Williams, who normally is in the spotlight wherever she goes, actually stayed in the background. She seemed to appreciate the discussion Young had with the Dolphins, the players said.
However, the team did get to interact with Williams. The highlight of the session came when the singer said that she would pose for selfies, said Andrews.
“We took tons of pictures,” said Andrews, knowing many of those photos were sure to get plenty of page views and likes on their social media accounts.