Former 4X USA Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Leslie Balances Family and Fame

By on July 17, 2021

WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie, left, was interviewed by Roman Gabriel III on the Roman Gabriel Show.

Lisa Leslie is one of the most-recognized former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players. Having brought considerably more than a stunning visage and statuesque body to the court, she was the most dominant player in the women’s game. She was a member of the gold-winning U.S. Olympic Basketball Teams in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. She is the first team sport athlete to win four consecutive Olympic gold medals.

In 2001, Leslie was the first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season. That year, she also led the Los Angeles Sparks to their first WNBA Championship. In 2002, she became the WNBA all-time leading scorer. Leslie led the Sparks to back-to-back championships and she was the first woman to slam-dunk in a professional game.

In August 2011, Leslie became co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks. She also launched the Lisa Leslie Basketball and Leadership Academy.

Lisa and her husband Michael are parents to Lauren and M.J. As a wife, mom, author, sports analyst, motivational speaker and entrepreneur you can see Lisa Leslie does it all. We sat down and visited about faith, family, fame and the importance of helping the younger generation.

Roman Gabriel: Tell me about your representing the American Federation for Children ?

Lisa Leslie: I’m here on behalf of the American Federation for Children, and I hope to bring awareness to parents who should have a choice of what school their kids to attend. The government shouldn’t be choosing what church or school we go to. Now most states are set up so kids go to school based upon the ZIP code they live in. But some of those schools may not be the best in the area. Maybe they’re underfunded or underperforming.

RG: You’re a person who has spent your whole life taking care of your body and mind in becoming a WNBA and Olympic basketball champion. Why is it so important to take care of ourselves physically?

LL: I always say that you only get one body so you really need to take care of it. What you put into your body is what you get out. It’s like buying gas, the right kind of fuel for your automobile is critical, and with our bodies if you put the wrong fuel in it, then you can’t perform well on the field, in the classroom, on the court or whatever you may be doing. I think it’s really important that kids get this information early on. I know some kids don’t like vegetables but as parents we have to find vegetables, fruits and other foods our kids enjoy so that they eat correctly. As a new mom I’ve become even more interested in this aspect of helping our kids better perform.

RG: It seems to me that people who live by the basic priorities of faith and family become very successful in life. What’s your story?

LL: As a prayerful kid, I was always putting my faith and goals in the Lord’s name. That was always one of the things that helped me the most. I always wanted to fulfill His purpose. I think that’s really been the saving grace for me. When you have faith, you have to step out on it [and trust God].

RG: I hear from many people about a lack of hope or doubt that our young people have today about their future. What do you say to young people today who voice a lack of opportunity because of some past failure or difficult up bringing?

LL: I always tell kids that 10 percent of what goes on in life is our past problems. The other 90 percent is how you process it mentally. This is one thing that really separated me from others when I competed in my community. I wrote down the short-term goals and the long-term goals that I had. And by seeing these goals every day on my mirror or on my refrigerator, they constantly reminded me to do the things I was supposed to do like studying my homework or simply going to the gym.

RG: Why are positive role models critical to young people’s success?

LL: I think it’s really important for kids to seek out mentors. I’m a big advocate of finding mentors – someone who’s positive in your community. If it’s not a parent or an aunt or an uncle, it may be a teacher or someone in the ministry or in the church you attend. There is someone that can be a shining light in your community and may not be financially rich, but they may be rich in spirit, rich in wisdom and rich in information. You have to be a seeker willing to learn and to find out more about who you want to be.

RG: What do you tell kids who are struggling, or have setbacks, and don’t have hope that they can have a successful future?
LL: I always tell kids that 10% of everything we go into life is the problem: wether you come from a single household, maybe you don’t have enough money as the next person, the other 10% is how you process it mentally. Mental toughness is very important, just like we do in sports. You have to get after it, life is not easy, its a hustle, whatever you want to be you can be, but there is no secret to success, theres no easy one, two, three steps, theres only hard work. I think what separated me was writing down goals. I wrote down goals I wanted to reach in one year, and long term goals I wanted to reach in 5 years. By writing down my goals on my mirror, and refrigerator it constantly reminded me to work hard, instead of hanging out, going to  parties, and playing video games. Wether it was studying, doing my homework, or  going to the gym and working out.

RG: If parents want more information about school choice, where can they go?

LL: Go to Federationforchildren.org to find out more information about the importance of school choice.

The Roman Gabriel Show Radio Program can be heard every Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 am on the Score 98.1 FM, and the Roman Gabriel Show Minute can be heard morning and afternoon drive on the East Carolina Radio Network in Dare County NC. The Roman Gabriel Show Podcast is available at www.romangabrielshow.com anywhere you listen to podcasts. Faith Family Sports™

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