After a successful first season with the New York Liberty, guard/forward Didi Richards earned a spot on the WNBA 2021 All-Rookie Team. Since the season wrapped with the Liberty’s first trip to the playoffs since 2017, Richards has been busy with appearances on behalf of the team. She is also taking part as a judge in Quest Nutrition’s Quest Rookie Challenge (questrookiechallenge.com), which will award three individuals seeking to make an impact in their communities with $20,000 each.
“It was the first brand that reached out and actually wanted to work with me,” said Richards, who is also featured in the new Quest Rookie Campaign. “It’s been life-changing for me because of the injury that I’ve gone through [in October 2020 Richards suffered a spinal cord injury that left her temporarily paralyzed].”
Richards has decided not to play overseas during the WNBA off-season. She is staying in the New York area, working out with the Liberty coaching staff and allowing her body to heal (she also had a hamstring injury during the NCAA Tournament). She appreciates how Quest encourages people—be they athletes or people working to make an impact in the world.
“They support people on their personal journey, people that make a difference in their communities,” said Richards, who has been partaking of Quest products such as protein bars, cookies and other protein treats since high school. “It’s so moving to be with a company that can see…the things we go through in order to be athletes.”
While Richards initially found New York City a bit overwhelming, she quickly came to embrace it. She, WNBA Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyenwere and Betnijah Laney have been attending events and building excitement for next season.
“It was culture shock when I first got here…but now I can’t imagine being anywhere but here,” said Richards, who returned to Texas for Thanksgiving, her first time celebrating that holiday with family since before college at Baylor.
One life tip Richards offers young women is to be unapologetically themselves. The second tip is building confidence through knowledge. The third is to be prepared. Taking her own advice, she’s excited to see what comes next.
In other WNBA news, much to the relief of players and fans, the WNBA has announced a revised playoffs format. The single-game eliminations are gone. Starting next season, there will be three rounds to the playoffs with all eight teams participating from the start. The first round will be a best of three series and rounds two and three will be best of five.