IN 1963, HUNDREDS OF thousands of Black Americans marched in Washington, DC, with one of the country’s Freedom Riders John R. Lewis’ words ringing in the background: “Get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until the revolution of 1776 is complete. Today, the same holds true for one of the biggest activists in the WNBA, Natasha Cloud.
As the game clock dwindled on October 10, 2019, Natasha Cloud and the Washington Mystics achieved what they had fought for all season long: their first-ever WNBA championship. After a grueling five-game series, Tasha stood atop the media table on the court reciting the verses to “Dreams & Nightmares,” the ultimate championship song for a kid from Philly. A year filled with blood, sweat and tears resulted in what every young hooper dreams of.
When she walked away from the court that night, she had no idea what was to come. In the months leading up to the 2020 season, where the reigning champs are meant to defend their title, the world changed. We saw one viral disease spread across our society, and another disease—one Tasha has known to be alive and well for as long as she can remember—be exposed: racism.
On May 25, the world watched as those sworn to protect murdered George Floyd. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, America got a glimpse of what it’s like to be Black in this country. Since then, it’s been nearly impossible for Cloud to direct her attention to anything else. It’s a reality that she’s lived day in and day out her entire life. When it came down to whether or not she would play in the 2020 season, there was a lot on her mind beyond the game.
“It was just really hard to focus with Breonna Taylor being murdered and her murderers still not being locked up, as well as George Floyd’s murder,” Tasha tells SLAM. “It’s really hard to think about basketball at this point, and regardless of my status as a WNBA champion, when I take that uniform off, this is my reality every single day.”
For Tasha, that reality revealed itself yet again recently.
Earlier this month, the 2019 champion had just signed a huge deal with Converse and was looking to make a new purchase. Excited to celebrate her triumphs, she made her way to a local BMW dealership in her hometown of Philadelphia. The minute she stepped in, before having even spoken to anyone about what she was looking to buy, the salesman directed her to the pre-owned section.
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THE THIRD Coming
FOR DJ WAGNER, SON OF DAJUAN AND GRANDSON OF MILT—BOTH FORMER NBA PLAYERS—BASKETBALL RUNS IN HIS FAMILY’S BLOOD. OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS, HE’LL USE THAT TALENT AND HIS NO. 1 RANKING IN THE CLASS OF 2023 TO LEAD CAMDEN HS TO THE TOP OF THE BASKETBALL WORLD (AGAIN).
STATE of the UNION
CHRIS PAUL HAS BEEN A NATURAL LEADER SINCE AS FAR BACK AS HE CAN REMEMBER. BUT THROUGH 2020, AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE NBPA, PAUL HAS LED ALL 450 NBA PLAYERS THROUGH THE MOST TURBULENT OF TIMES—THROUGH A PANDEMIC, A SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT, A BUBBLE, AND A SEASON THAT SOMEHOW STRETCHED 355 DAYS—AND THOSE LEADERSHIP ABILITIES HAVE BEEN MORE CRUCIAL THAN EVER. WE SPOKE WITH CP3 ABOUT THE LEGACY OF THE PAST YEAR AND MUCH MORE.
The Fresh Princesses of Blair
IT’S STRAIGHT UP DOMINATION WHEN OLIVIA MILES AND DOMINIQUE DARIUS, TWO OF THE BEST GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PLAYERS IN THE COUNTRY, ARE ON THE FLOOR AT THE SAME TIME.
MEET THE SALAM SCHOOL STARS—AN ALL-MUSLIM GIRLS’ TEAM THAT’S CHALLENGING GENDER-NORMS WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITY.
Back For More
ATHLETIC PROPULSION LABS’ first basketball sneaker got banned from the NBA because it gave wearers an “advantage.” The brothers who launched the company have returned to the game 10 years later, with a duo of brand new sneakers.
3 the HARD WAY
THREE NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS MEANS DANNY GREEN KNOWS A THING OR THREE ABOUT WINNING. AS HE WRITES HERE, THE THIRD WAS THE MOST SATISFYING.
Though her first year in the WNBA was anything but normal, Atlanta dream star Chennedy Carter is on her way to a long career in front of the bright lights.
NO MERCY, NO FEAR
THE NBA IS BACK AND NEW ORLEANS PELICANS STAR ZION WILLIAMSON IS AS CONFIDENT AS HE’S EVER BEEN. LET THIS BE YOUR FINAL WARNING.
THE PEOPLE'S CHAMP
NATASHA CLOUD HAS ALWAYS FOUGHT FOR WHAT’S RIGHT. BY OPTING OUT OF THE 2020 WNBA SEASON TO FOCUS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE, THE REIGNING CHAMP CONTINUES HER FIGHT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY.
MEET ROBBY SIKKA, THE SUPERFAN TURNED DOCTOR TURNED NBA TEAM VP WHOSE EXPERTISE HAS BEEN CRUCIAL FOR THE NBA THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC.
A Healthy Berry Very Easily Turns Decadent
Gender equity drive in racing
As part of a remix for the coming season of the foiling SailGP series, each of the eight teams are to add one female athlete per team. Teams will be incentivised to include female athletes in rotation for ‘active roles’ and to include women in the sixth position, progressing to ‘practice and/or training in key roles’.
HELEN FRETTER ON JZERRO
BidenBucks Is Beeple Is Bitcoin
In a system rigged by the rich, outsiders have to make their own volatility.
The Soul Of Bravo
A year of national reckonings on race and inequality has tested how real the Housewives should be.
DISPATCHES: AMERICA WITHOUT GOD
As religious faith has declined, ideological intensity has risen. Will the quest for secular redemption through politics doom the American idea?
Be prepared to be surprised by the wonders of the open road, the places you will visit and the wonderful people you will meet on your travels across the Western U.S.
How Will You Celebrate National Ag Day?
WE’VE ALL SEEN #NationalDogDay or #NationalCoffeeDay sweep our social media feeds at some point every year. While there are many interesting avenues you can celebrate via National Today, there is one that remains all-important to maintain a stable economy and to live our healthiest lives. Can you guess it? National Ag Day on March 23.
Stephen ‘Thundercat' Bruner – 'Bass Traverses Different Worlds'
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In 2020, Teachers Unions and Police Unions Showed Their True Colors
It’s time for the left and the right to take a hard look at their favorite public-sector Unions.