This WNBA season has brought several documentaries chronicling aspects of the league’s history. Second-year New York Liberty guard DiDi Richards appears in “We Are the W,” a film directed by Shibon Kennedy and Katie McCurdy featuring three players at different stages of their careers: veteran Angel McCoughtry, mid-career player Isabelle Harrison, and Richards. Each reflects on basketball and her pro experiences.
“As a rookie it’s more so being able to sit and learn,” said Richards, a member of the 2021 WNBA All-Rookie team. “You’re so used to being the leader of your college that when you get here it’s almost culture shock. I tried to make that really known in the rookie aspect of the film because it was a hard thing for me to adapt to understanding that I need to be willing to be led.”
Richards, 23, grew up in a world where the WNBA always existed. She realized previous generations of female basketball players faced uncertain futures after college, but she had the promise of a pro career. It made her determination to overcome a serious injury suffered early in senior year at Baylor that much stronger.
Seeing Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie when she was growing up sparked her excitement for the game, in part because they not only played hard, but also seemed to share her love of glamor and style. “Now being in the league is kind of surreal for me,” said Richards, who started this season with an injury, but is now back in action.
During the off-season, Richards decided to stay in Brooklyn and make appearances on behalf of the Liberty. She was also tapped to be one of the WNBA players appearing in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, in which she proudly displayed her “kiss my behind” lips tattoo on her rear end. “That’s my favorite tattoo,” she said.
Richards and her Liberty teammates recently attended the world premiere of “Unfinished Business,” a film about the inception of the WNBA and the Liberty’s place in league history. “[Filmmaker] Alison Klayman did an amazing job,” said Richards. “The fact that we got to watch T-Spoon (Teresa Weatherspoon), Crystal [Robinson] and Rebecca [Lobo] and hear how they feel about how they didn’t win [a championship].
“They got to the finals so many times (1997, 1999-2000 and 2002), but never had a chance to win it all, so them kind of living through us is empowering,” she added. “It’s something I want to give them and give New York.”