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Monday, August 8, 2022

Seimone Augustus discovered her own unique voice even before she began coaching

Seimone Augustus was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Women when she was 14 years old, and she was posed the question, “Is She the Next Michael Jordan?” This was the first time she had a clear understanding of her own abilities.

She recalls the stands at Capitol High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as the place where she first saw her potential as a W.N.B.A. legend. Augustus, who retired this year after 15 seasons, recalls the moment she realised her ability. She was the driving force behind the team’s back-to-back state championships, scoring 3,600 points and losing just seven games in four years.

A majority-Black area in which she grew up, the school is at the heart of a community that she describes as close-knit and consisting of “a lot of individuals that you would never know that contributed to create my game the way it is.” With each victory, though, the audiences who came to see Augustus play in the Capitol gymnasium began to take on a new appearance.

According to Augustus, “the same white folks who, if we had seen them driving down the street a year ago, would have been hitting the locks with their elbows and zooming through were suddenly welcoming coming to the gym, wanting to experience whatever it was that they had witnessed while watching me play.”

Only then did Augustus begin to grasp the magnitude of the impact that her supernatural talents on the court could allow her to effect on the outside world. “I believe that’s when it struck me,” she added. “It was simply a melting pot of individuals amid the most gorgeous landscape I’d ever seen in my life,” says the author of the memoir.

Despite the fact that Augustus is no longer playing basketball, her legacy as a player is unquestionable. She was a pioneer in women’s basketball and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. She was also a cornerstone of the four-time champion Minnesota Lynx, one of basketball’s great dynasties. But she is also one of the most forward-thinking and underappreciated advocates in sports today. She is now working to assist her players in achieving a sense of comfort and freedom off the court that she experienced while playing. Augustus is an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Sparks.

The support of Augustus’s parents and relatives was overwhelming, while some were unfriendly. Several parents approached my parents and said, “Because your daughter is homosexual, she has my daughter feeling like she is gay,” Augustus said. “It was a terrible experience.” “People I’ve never met before are blaming me for something that their kid has chosen to express today.”

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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