In honor of Women’s History Month, MTS had the opportunity to interview a woman of strong, righteous character. Ms. Monica Wright. Monica is a prominent female basketball player who has excelled on the collegiate level setting records at the University of Virginia, and in the pros with already two WNBA champions (2011 & 2013) in her young, promising career (3 years pro, Minnesota Lynx).
Monica is a prime example of how hard work and dedication ultimately leads to triumph. In a brief discussion, Monica talked to MTS about her endeavors off-the-court, highlighting her upcoming Nike Basketball Camp, the importance of giving back, being an advocate of health & fitness, three women who were essential to her success, and more.
MTS: First off, I want to congratulate you on your second WNBA Championship, How does it feel to be a two-time champ?
MW: To tell you the truth, I haven’t even thought about it that much. It’s been kind of hectic, as WNBA players we have to go overseas less than a week after our WNBA season is over. Everything is now starting to settle in now that I’m able to slow down not being overseas. But before that I haven’t even had a chance to sit down and think about how I felt.
MW: Are you currently overseas now?
No I’m not anymore, I was playing in Korea, but I’m here in America now.
MTS: You’re very active in the community, you have a history working with children, you’re affiliated with the WNBA cares and you have a Nike basketball camp coming up in your hometown of Virginia. How essential do you feel it is to give back and participate in the community?
MW: I think it’s really important for all pro athletes to take on and embrace the role model image that they have on younger kids who are also athletes. My community is a huge basketball community, growing up we were very blessed to be able to have basketball courts all over the community to play pick-up games. Basketball is a really popular sport where I grew up, everyone plays—whether they went to college or not, they know how to play basketball and are at least decent. Basketball was a part of the culture that I was blessed to be around growing up, and I think it was just important for me to show my community how thankful I was of their support over the course of my career. My Nike basketball camp was just something I wanted to do to give back.
MTS: Do you have any future plans of potentially starting your own foundation or charity?
MW: I have a lot of things that I want to do, but I want to take my time and hear the voice of God on this one, to really understand where he wants me exactly.
MTS: You’re a firm believer of instilling high self-esteem in children, are there any words of encouragement you might have for young women struggling with their self-esteem?
MW: Absolutely—especially for young women growing up in 2014, it’s difficult to embrace yourself as “beautiful” because of what were expose to on television etc. Times have changed, everyday young girls are scrolling through their Instagram, or looking at Facebook and comparing themselves to people that the world tells them are beautiful. I think it’s really important to help younger kids, kind of mold them into knowing the truth about self-image, who they are, who God has created them to be, and how beautiful they really are. Despite what the outside world says.
MTS: Can you think of three women in your life who’ve inspired you?
MW: Number one is my mom, she’s truly inspired me. Growing up I wasn’t even aware of how awesome of a woman she was, and how important she was in my life. She’s the first in her family to get her master degree, she’s an educator—she taught me everything about being a black woman in America. She’s huge in my life as far as knowing the history of our people—kind of like “where we come from, in order to know where we’re going. “
Another woman who has played a major role in my life, her name is Jenny Boucek. She’s my spiritual mentor, and kind of grabbed me when I was in college and helped me to walk in faith. She educated me on the bible, and taught me how to maneuver through life as a women’s basketball player, and women of God.
Last would be my great grandmother who helped raise me, she passed away when I was a senior in college. She’s been living with my family since I was 6 years old until I was a senior in college. She was born in 1918 and emigrated here from Puerto Rico. She was above status quo being a woman who worked in every field that a man worked. A woman who had her own home, when she got married she was able to work and raise her kids at the same time which was unheard of back in her day.
MTS: You’re an advocate of health and fitness. How important do you feel it is for children to be active?
MW: Yes, I think it’s really important. I have an older brother, growing-up we were always in the streets playing basketball. Playing outside was a part of my life. As I got older health had taken on a different role in my life, I thought I was healthy but unknowingly I didn’t realize eating right was important. As an athlete and as a woman, again just understanding that our body is our temple, our bodies are important to help us carryout everyday life. We have to have a healthy body in order to have a healthy mind and vice versa. As I’ve eaten healthier I see the effect that it’s had on me.
MTS: What are some of your hobbies off-the-court?
MW: Lately I’ve just been reading a lot, trying to fill my mind with knowledge. I don’t watch as much television as I used to. I might turn it on for a TV show here and there that I like—I think it’s really important to learn, I’m into that right now. It’s different every season, sometimes my hobbies might change, but right now it’s no TV and just read.
MTS: Are there any recent books you’ve read that you would recommend?
MW: Two really good books I enjoyed were “One in a Million” by Priscilla Shirer, and “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, and Claude King.