Lynetta grew up in Northern Virginia with her mother, brother, Dominique, and her younger sister, Quiana. Their mother was in the military for 20 years, so they did quite a bit of traveling throughout her childhood. Lynetta actually first started playing basketball during her time in Germany. “From the time I seen my brother start playing to the time I decided to start playing. It’s always been just basketball, basketball, basketball,” she said. It’s no secret that Lynetta’s family is very proud of her. I think every member of her family tree was present to support and cheer her on that night!
Lynetta and I got a chance to rap at the Verizon Center after her game versus the Washington Mystics in DC. She greeted me with an admirable enthusiasm and I was equally enthused. She thoughtfully introduced me to a few of her family members and we gabbed about the upcoming WNBA season. During the conversation, Lynetta was praised with, “Good game!” by fans in passing and took pictures with a few teenage girls. Her love for people exudes itself effortlessly. It was great to see her interact with the fans. Our locker room time was limited, so we wasted no time in getting to this week’s #ShineHardconversation.
Johnny: Lynetta, you have really accomplished some great things in your career thus far…
- 3x Team Captain at Potomac Senior High School
- ESPN #1 Center out of High School (Ranked #5 overall)
- McDonald’s All-American
- USA Women’s U18 Gold Medalist
- ACC Rookie of the Year 2008-09
- University of Maryland – ACC Champs
- Drafted 29th overall by the Tulsa Shock
Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
etta: Umm, I would definitely say making it to the WNBA. I was the #1 center coming out of high school and I was a top player coming out of college. This reality has always been a dream of mine.
So what is your passion and hen did you know?
Netta: Kids and basketball. I’m crazy about kids. I’m crazy about basketball and the love for the game. I just wanna make sure that once it’s all said and done that I do everything I can to impact kids and make sure they have a role model to look up to.
Who did you look up to growing up?
Netta: My brother, but as far as basketball players, I was a big Teresa Weatherspoon fan. I was crazy about her during her years with New York and LA. She is definitely someone I modeled myself after.
Did you experience any adversity as a kid?
Netta: Well, my childhood friend, Chavis Harris, passed away from cancer my freshmen year in high school. He was always around. He pretty much put the ball in my hands along with my brother. I really didn’t understand the condition at the time, but I could see it getting progressively worse. He was somebody I watched play and he was in the gym with me 24/7. He is somebody I looked up to and probably get my attitude from. That experience has always stuck with me.
So what’s the difference between playing in the WNBA and overseas?
Netta: Playing over there is really trying to develop your skills and become a better player. The pay is more and competition isn’t as much, but it’s in effort to come back to the US and compete against the best.
What motivates you to succeed?
Netta: My mom. Just seeing how hard she’s worked for all these years pushes me to be better at my sport.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career thus far?
Netta: My biggest challenge is just slowing down, ya know? You get in the game and you get excited and you wanna do good things and have a great game, etc. But it’s still the game of basketball. For me, it’s learning that it’s still the same game that I’ve been playing for so many years. Making the right shots, and making the right plays. At some point it’s just relax and play the game of basketball.
What have you learned from being a professional?
Netta: Just how hard you gotta work day in and day out. I mean, when I was first coming into the league I really didn’t understand. I didn’t understand what it takes to get to that next step and what it was to get to the next level of focus to just play basketball.
Another thing is maintaining and the longevity of it. Keeping your body right and eating the right things. Doing the right things on and off the court. It’s kind of been the hardest adjustment for me, but I’m definitely coming along this third year.
What in today’s culture frustrate you most?
Netta: How people put so much criticism on the athletes today. For instance,Lebron in the finals. He was cramping up and people are making all these meme’s and just trying to fry my man. It kinda kills me because they don’t really understand what we go through as athletes to make sure that we can perform to the best of our ability and to make sure we can put on a show for the fans that are buying the tickets. To see people use social media as an outlet like that, I don’t really respect that.
Off the basketball court, what are you doing to utilize your passion for the youth?
Netta: I’ve done a few internships in youth development and I’m trying to start a foundation just to work with underprivileged kids, to be exact. Kids that come from broken homes, and really need that push and that guidance. That’s just something I’m passionate about and really wanna focus on. Especially in this area, I don’t feel like the kids have enough. You know what I mean? There’s a lot of sports related, things but they don’t really have someone there to motivate them in the classroom. I want to make sure kids nowadays are more dynamic.
What is the #1 factor to your success?
Netta: God first. My family is my foundation. Praying. All of that! Making sure I have people I can go talk to when things get rough, I think that’s the most important thing. God, family, and Friends.
What advice do you give to young athletes looking to take things to the next level?
Netta: The most important thing is just get that solid support system. Because with athletes people wanna latch to you and they wanna know everything about you. They want to be that person that can influence you the right way or influence you the wrong way. You gotta have those people around you who can tell you when you’re wrong sometimes. Don’t spend so much time around the people that just tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear. Make sure that you have a solid foundation around you . Stay close to God. Keep praying, Trust your talent and the most important thing to do is work hard! Everything else will fall into place.