Lisa Leslie Talks 1st WNBA Dunk, Favorite Athletes, Big 3, More in B/R AMA

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 01: Lisa Leslie speaks at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Induction Ceremony on November 1, 2019 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images for USOPC)
Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images for USOPC

Few WNBA stars are more iconic than Lisa Leslie.

The Los Angeles Sparks legend competed in the WNBA's inaugural 1997 season and proceeded to win two league titles, three MVPs and receive eight All-Star nods. Leslie also won four Olympic gold medals with Team USA and holds the distinction of having thrown down the first dunk in WNBA history.

She stopped by Wednesday to tackle a few different topics with B/R users, including her WNBA career and role as head coach of the Triplets in the BIG3 basketball league.

The following is the full transcript from the AMA session.

@just_in_time How did your role in Uncle Drew come about? Could Betty Lou teach today’s WNBA players a thing or two?

I actually went and flew myself to Atlanta to audition for the part of Betty Lou. I got dressed in an old lady’s outfit and made a really awful old looking suit. I walked into the building as Betty Lou. When I walked out they were very happy with my audition and the fact that I took the role so serious. I was told they loved it and that’s how I got the role. The whole cast was fun to work with, from Nate Robinson who only had 2 lines in the movie, but is just hilarious in person. Reggie is great. Kyrie, who can dance so well. He’s a great guy, and Shaq of course. The basketball scenes, us playing ball together, was probably the best part.

@MustafaJafri How did you score 101 points in 16 mins?

In high school, I was sort of thrust into this team where the tradition was the senior had to score as many points as possible. I was senior captain, and I had to break 69 points. I was just locked in; like a video game on the court. By the time it was halftime, I had scored 101 points. I honestly had no idea; I thought something was wrong with the scoreboard. It’s a Guiness Book of World record. 

@Orisani What went through your mind when you completed the WNBA’s first dunk in 2002? Did it feel significant in the moment or just like another bucket?

In the moment, our team was losing and I wasn’t happy. I remember huddling our team and said we had to pick it up. We picked up our defense and my teammate stole me the ball and I was heading down the court and just dunked it in first out of anger that we were down. Then, once the crowd reacted I realized what I had done. Within two seconds, I was trying to get my teammates back on defense and then the opposing coach at the time called a timeout to allow us to celebrate the moment.

@livhoops4 Which current WNBA player reminds you the most of yourself?

Combo of 3 players: Breanna Stewart -  her ability to score reminds me of myself. Asia Wilson - her footwork inside and Tina Charles - they both operate really well on the block

@BR_Kicks Who in the WNBA should be next to get a signature sneaker?

It would be nice to be able to wear a Taurasi somewhere. The most appropriate person who has been an amazing baller, and another California girl if I can be a little biased. 

@SMXC How did you mentally prepare for big games?

I always read Pslam 91 before games. I always told myself that every player has to put two shoes on and there’s one ball, and we have equal opportunities to get it. 

@chino_horts Have you ever gotten a chance to play Backyard Basketball when you starred in the game?

Yes, I have. Not many times. It was really cool, there are a lot of kids who are adults now who say I was their favorite player to play with. 

@MrBoban___ Who is your favorite athlete from another sport?

Serena and Venus Williams. Everybody knows I love Kobe. Those are probably my favorite off the top of my head. 

@Michael Jordan What is your favorite part of coaching in the BIG3?

Winning is my favorite part, that’s always going to be my answer. Just been great to win a championship at that level, and being able to influence the men that I coach and lead them to victory. This year will be exciting because we have a chance to defend our championship. 

@1KDFanatic35 What advice would you give to someone trying to work on their game and what did you specifically do to better yourself as a player?

Write down your short-term goals, what you want to do in that first year. And then long-term goals, what you want to do in five years. There’s really no true key to success other than practicing and quality over quantity is important.

@celticfanatic What do you believe is the next step in growing women’s sports?

The steps are happening right now. The major sponsorships that have come, like Nike and DoorDash. Obviously the deals with ESPN and CBS Sports. All those things are helping grow our game. Our fans too; we’ve been introduced to another grow that has grown up with the WNBA and respect our game.