Women’s History Month: 10 Questions with LaChina Robinson, ESPN Women’s Basketball Analyst
Added by Shannon Hovan on March 11, 2013.
Everyday this month, Double G Sports will be featuring interviews from prominent women in the sports industry as our way of celebrating Women’s History Month. This project is in its 2nd year. Today we feature ESPN Women’s Basketball Analyst, LaChina Robinson.
- LaChina Robinson
1. How did growing up as a female athlete help define you as a person?
My experiences growing up as a female athlete made me who I am today. I was 6’4 at the age of 14 so there weren’t a lot of places in the world that I felt like I “fit” in. I was very shy, suffered from low self esteem, and was often very withdrawn from my peers, until I started to play basketball.
The first thing that basketball taught me was the importance of cultural diversity. My teammates were from all walks of life but we came together to play the game and our unique backgrounds made the experience invaluable.
The 2nd thing I learned was the value of hard work, goal setting, and how they translate into any area of your life where you hope to achieve success. Last but not least I found my voice. Not only did I literally start to speak up but I also developed a confidence in who I was as a person and I began to realize my value to those around me.
2. As a female athlete growing up and now, as an advocate for women’s sports, how important is a good coach and mentor to a young female athlete?
I take mentoring very seriously because I know firsthand how important a Coach can be to the development of a young woman’s confidence. I had 3 Coaches that had a significant impact on my life as a young girl. All three were tangible examples of how to compete, respect your sport, and how to live out a standard of excellence. Coaches are also often the first people to verbalize confidence in a young person’s ability to be successful, which helps them to realize their own potential success.
3. The WNBA is approaching its 13th season. In your experience, what needs to be done to ensure that it sees its 25th, 40th and 50th seasons?
I believe that one of the most important components for longevity of the league is maintaining great leadership. Laurel Richie is the perfect fit for the position of President of the WNBA. Right now the WNBA needs to grow it’s fan base to stay alive and Laurel Richie’s background in marketing gives her the experience and qualification to increase its popularity.
4. Who, within the game of Women’s Basketball continues to inspire you today?
C. Vivian Stringer continues to inspire me and always has throughout the course of her life. She has been a great example of how to handle both tragedy and triumph with grace. She is a pioneer and a legend in the game of women’s basketball but she had a lot of barriers to break through to get there. She grew up before Title IX and during segregation so she faced a lot of prejudice of gender and race but never let it stop her.
5. Talk a little but about the mission of your company Stretch Beyond, and how it came to be.
I have always loved people, and Stretch Beyond was born out of my love for people and a hunger to see them realize their dreams! I wanted to get into Athletic Administration after my time and Wake Forest and they area I was most interested in was student-athlete development. When I decided to get into television instead, I wanted to find a platform to continue to help student-athletes develop in the areas of community, character, and career.
At Stretch Beyond we strive to increase one’s level of self awareness as it pertains to individual communication and behavioral styles, which enhances the value of the collegiate experience both on and off the court.
6. What have you discovered most about yourself through your work with the Stretch Beyond program?
That helping yourself doesn’t feel as good as helping others.
7. From your interactions with student athletes through Stretch Beyond, what piece of advice do you find yourself most commonly offering them?
You are your own brand and your own company NOW so be intentional about how you represent yourself. I am a big fan of personal branding and unfortunately student-athletes subscribe to the thought that the process of brand development doesn’t start until after graduation. You meet a lot of great people and have a ton of resources on campus, put time into figuring out who you are and what you stand for while you are there.
8. Have you ever considered coaching in the future?
I haven’t totally ruled it out but I have never been interested in coaching.
9. What is it about the game of Women’s Basketball that continues to excite you day after day, year after year?
I just love the game of basketball in general! The amazing thing about women’s basketball is that post Title IX the game is really growing in skill level, athleticism, and parity. We now have 2nd generation college basketball players, young women who’s mothers played at the college level so the depth and history of the game is rich.
10. Will you be in New Orleans covering the Women’s Final Four come April? What team do you think will claim the title?
Yes I will be in New Orleans working for Turner Sports/NCAA.com as a reporter at the Final Four. I hope that basketball fans will come and see some of the best talent our game has ever had!