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Lisa Leslie

From Academic Kids

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Lisa_leslie_wnba4.jpg
Lisa Leslie celebrates after winning a WNBA Championship with the Los Angeles Sparks

Lisa Leslie (born July 7, 1972 in Gardena, California) is an American Women's National Basketball Association player currently playing for the Los Angeles Sparks. One of the original WNBA players, she quickly rose to stardom as one of the league's most top-performing and popular players. She has won several WNBA Championships. She has also made history by becoming the first player to perform a dunk in that league.

Contents

Early career

Leslie became a famous basketball player long before her career in the WNBA began. The daughter of a female truck driver, she was quite tall even in her youth. She was a dominating player made legendary by scoring 101 points in the first half of a high school basketball game. [1] (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/basketba/2002-05-01-leslie.htm)

WNBA

Leslie was one of the original members of the Los Angeles Sparks when the WNBA's first season opened in 1997. She had stated her intentions of dunking in a game before the first season even started, and she tried to dunk the ball on the first game of that season, against the New York Liberty, but she missed.

Throughout the late 1990s, the Sparks kept making the playoffs, but getting eliminated as the Houston Comets claimed every WNBA championship played in that decade. However, in 2001, the Sparks were finally able to topple the Comets, and they beat the Charlotte Sting to win the WNBA title for the first time. In 2001, she was named MVP of the league, the all-star game and the finals.

On July 30 of 2002, against the Miami Sol, she finally made the type of history she had always wanted to: she became the first woman to score with a dunk in a WNBA game, as Latasha Byers stole the ball, Leslie was already past half court. Byers outlet pass led Leslie towards the open basket running. Leslie then jumped towards the hoop and with one hand, Leslie dunked! The Staples Center crowd, and her teammates erupted into a spontaneous celebration that stopped the game for a few minutes. Perfect moments happen rarely. This was a perfect space in time, and Lisa Leslie is always going to be the first woman to dunk in a professional game in the USA. Eight days before, she had become the first WNBA player to have over 3,000 career points, when she scored 24 points against the Orlando Miracle. That summer, she helped the Sparks to their second straight world championship, beating the Liberty. Her WNBA dunk is the only one in WNBA history.

On July 29 of 2004, she reached the milestone of 4,000 career points, scoring 17 points in an 85-80, double overtime victory over the Sacramento Monarchs.

International career

Leslie has also been a member of the United States' national women's basketball team. She helped lead them to gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, and in the world championships of basketball.

Leslie was a member of the 2004 Olympic gold medal winner United States women's national basketball team.

Off the court

Leslie is also a fashion model and aspiring actress on the side. During the NCAA Women's Vasketball Tournament in 2005 Lisa worked on the air for ESPN adding key insight and commentary. Early in her WNBA career, she signed a contract with the Wilhemina modeling agency  (http://www.wilhelmina.com). She has also appeared in an episode of The Jersey, as well as various commercials.

Key statistics

  • points per game: 17.5
  • rebounds per game: 9.5
  • assists per game: 2.3
  • blocked shots per game: 2.2
  • steals per game: 4.5
  • also the hero of many young female basketball players

Template:Naismith Award Winners Women

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