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WNBA legend Weatherspoon visits Ferriday

Ferriday — The athletes of Ferriday High School had a chance to familiarize themselves with a WNBA legend Thursday.

Former New York Liberty player and Louisiana Tech University coach Teresa Weatherspoon made her way to the Concordia Parish Community Center to speak at the high school’s athletic banquet.

Before she got into her speech, the 1988 Olympic gold medalist wanted to show the children she was one of them growing up.

“I come from a little old town (Pineland) in Texas,” Weatherspoon said. “We had 882 people in the town. We didn’t need any telephones. All we had to do was open the door and yell outside to your neighbor.”

The room filled with giggles from the crowd who was loosening up to the legend.

“I am no different from you,” she told the student athletes. “The only difference you have from someone else is the desire to become, the desire to want so much no one can take it away from you.”

Weatherspoon, known for her motivational tactics, filled her speech with true stories of how she beat the odds of being a small-town hero to becoming a nationally known super star, to comparing the young athletes at Ferriday to the rising dough of biscuits.

Reina Kempt | The Natchez Democrat WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon speaks to the crowd at the Ferriday High School athletic banquet hosted at the Concordia Parish Community Center Thursday.
Reina Kempt | The Natchez Democrat
WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon speaks to the crowd at the Ferriday High School athletic banquet hosted at the Concordia Parish Community Center Thursday.

“As an eighth grader, I remember a man told me I’ll never be great playing (basketball),” Weatherspoon said. “I cried after hearing that, I was just a little kid. But after I won the Olympic gold medal, I got back to my hometown and ran down the street. I was really fast, too. I knocked on the man’s door and the moment he opened the door, I took that gold medal (put it up to his face) and I was like ‘Bam!’”

Weatherspoon explained how she took that little piece of negativity and turned it into the greatest motivation anyone could have.

Most of all, Weatherspoon explained to the athletes that having hope can go a long way.

“Its really about hope, you want to make sure (the athletes) understand that word is valuable,” Weatherspoon said. “I mentioned struggle or adversity because they need to understand that things happen, but hope is most important to get past it.”

Before she left the podium, Weatherspoon gave the children one last point to live by.

“There are many things you’re going to go through in this life,” she said. “When you leave, were you impactful? Whatever it is you want to become, give it your best. Don’t just be there, being there doesn’t work, you have to make an impact, and you have to have a purpose. In the end, don’t chase fame, chase purpose.”

Weatherspoon played at Louisiana Tech from 1984 to 1988, winning the NCAA championship in 1988.

She played over seas in Italy and Moscow, Russia before the WNBA was established in 1997.

She was one of the original players of the WNBA when she became a New York Liberty in 1997 and retired with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

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