Raymond uses basketball as platform for inspiration

LOIS ELFMAN | 10/10/2013, 4:55 p.m.
Tamika Raymond is moving and educating the young ones. Tamika Raymond photo

Since bringing her WNBA playing days to a close and stepping away from coaching the college game, Tamika Williams Raymond, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Connecticut, has been involved in some very interesting outreach projects in the U.S. and abroad.

In January, she went to Ukraine for a U.S. State Department/WNBA/NBA trip promoting women’s empowerment, education and sports. Then in March, she made appearances around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, promoting HIV/AIDS awareness for women and girls.

As the 2013 WNBA season got underway, she received a call about a sponsorship with P&G around the My Black is Beautiful project (myblackisbeautiful.com). Seven WNBA franchises held events that Raymond hosted throughout the summer. She will attend the BlackGirlsRock event later this month.

“Promote self-acceptance, talk about social media and how that plays a part in what people think about themselves, inner and outer beauty, what does beauty mean to them. Motivation—get them talking about real things,” Raymond said.

“It is scary and staggering how young girls and even women don’t have a grasp on how beautiful they are,” she added. “I had parents stand up or people mentoring these girls stand up and talk about how they struggled.”

Raymond said the WNBA now provides a global platform, so she and many present and past players from the league are able to positively affect girls and women. “The things we want to get these girls talking about are tough, not easy subjects,” she said.

In September, Raymond went to Nigeria. They held basketball clinics promoting the game and education. They went to a variety of organizations that are trying to motivate kids to play basketball. At one school presentation, the only two girls present hung on every word she said.

“The girls were engaged,” said Raymond, who, in addition to her public speaking, owns a Nationwide Insurance agency in the Dallas area. “That’s what I appreciate the most. It’s life-changing to do this.”

With the WNBA Finals now in full swing, Raymond offered an opinion on who will hoist the trophy. She’s going with the Minnesota Lynx, which includes fellow UConn alumna Maya Moore and All-WNBA Second Team guard Seimone Augustus.