The most exciting newcomer in women's college basketball is A'Ja Wilson, but she hasn't always been a phenom. When Wilson was 11 years old, her father tricked her into trying out for a local basketball team. "I didn't know I was trying out, but I made the team," she recalls. "The first two years I didn't get any playing time. I was terrible. Awful."
Her feelings shifted around the age of 12. Wilson went from hating the game to watching it, and then she took to the hardwood. When she walked through the doors of Heathwood Hall (a private school in Columbia, South Carolina), she was a 5'9" freshman, but in four years she transformed into a 6'5" senior and champion, leading the Highlanders to their first ever state title and averaging 34.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.0 steals, and 5.0 blocks. She was named a 2014 McDonald's All-American and picked as the top-ranked girls' recruit of her class.
Last April, Wilson announced at her own press conference, live on ESPNU, that she would not be joining Geno Auriemma at UConn or volunteering her services at Tennessee like most top prospects. Instead, she chose to stay close to home. Wilson grew up about 20 miles from the South Carolina campus. Last year the upstart women's program won its first regular-season SEC championship and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. (The Gamecocks lost to North Carolina 65--58 in the Sweet 16.) The coach is Dawn Staley, a basketball Hall of Famer and three-time Olympic gold medalist. When Wilson was deciding on where to go, she asked herself, "Why wouldn't you want to be a part of that?"
SI KIDS spoke with Wilson about being a rookie, her favorite Southern food, and making history in her home state.
It’s been a rough season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Entering Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Lakers were 7-16 and their aging star, Kobe Bryant, was becoming… agitated with his team’s performance.
But Sunday gave LA and Kobe a moment to celebrate. In the second quarter of the Lakers-T’wolves game, Bryant hit a couple free throws to give him 32,293 career points, which pushed him past Michael Jordan as the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer.
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker’s game is built on court vision. So when Parker suffered an eye injury (a scratched cornea, ouch!) while partying with friends in 2012, his court vision was less than perfect as he prepared to play for the French National Team in the London Olympics.
That’s when Bollé, an eyewear company that Parker had previously worked with, stepped in with special glasses for the four-time NBA champion. Now, Parker, whose vision is back to 100 percent, is helping the company launch a kids line, Bollé Sport Protective. The glasses (available with prescription or non-prescription lenses) come in cool colors and names like Swag, Dominance, and Baller.
Before his Spurs took on the Brooklyn Nets in New York last Wednesday, Parker sat down with SI Kids to talk about his experience with the eyewear, his hot start from beyond arc, and if he’ll ever come out of his rap retirement.
For 20 years, starting in his native Orlando, Shaquille O'Neal has bought toys for underprivileged kids. Now he has teamed up with Toys"R"US to become "Shaq-A-Claus, their spokesperson in their annual campaign with Toys for Tots, an organization that delivers toys to kids in need during this holiday season.
SI Kids talked to Shaq-A-Claus recently about the campaign, his favorite toys, and some things he's working on that may be in your stocking next year.
There are dunks. There are great dunks. And there are what-did-I-just-see dunks. This one’s the latter. In last night’s game against the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns guard Gerald Green set himself up for a dunk by bouncing the ball off of traffic through a crowd of defenders to pull off something you normally only see in video games:
Following a tumultuous offseason, the entertaining group of studio analysts from TNT’s Inside the NBA gathered in New York City on Monday for their annual media lunch. They discussed the best teams, players, and all of the excitement of the coming NBA season.
Shaquille O’ Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson share a combined 49 seasons of playing experience. So they know a thing or two about basketball. They unanimously agreed that LeBron James and the story of his hometown return that dominated summer headlines would remain prominent throughout the year. Where they couldn’t agree, though was on which team would actually bring home a championship trophy.
New Yorkers are used to seeing some stuff on the subways. Mariachi bands. Pop-up theater. Breakdancers. Ghostbusters. Rats. But on Friday, commuters on the 7 train (which runs from Times Square to Citi Field and Queens) got an unexpected surprise: the Harlem Globetrotters.
Nine members of the team boarded the train at Mets-Willets Point, the next-to-last stop on the Queens end of the 7 line, and proceeded to do some cool basketball tricks on the platform and then the train. Fortunately, this was all captured on video and uploaded to YouTube today: