USA Women’s Basketball: Lisa Leslie

Aug 13 2008 9:45AM
#9
Lisa Leslie
Center

Life has unquestionably changed a lot for Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie during the four years since she won Olympic gold in Athens. She married Michael Lockwood, a commercial pilot, on November 5, 2005, and on June 15, 2007, she gave birth to their first child, Lauren.1 Changes aside, heading into her fourth Olympics, Leslie brings veteran leadership both on and off the court.
“I feel really blessed to be young enough to play in one more Olympics yet veteran enough to say I already have three gold medals,” says Leslie, 36.2 “I’m really hoping to finish with a fourth gold. Also, having a great opportunity to pass on my experience and knowledge to a lot of young players that will hopefully continue to follow in my footsteps and get two or three gold medals of their own.”3
This WNBA season Leslie has been reunited on the court with DeLisha Milton-Jones and the two hope to carry their team chemistry to Beijing. “Lisa is such a stellar athlete that it’s easy to play off of her, because she knows the game at an astronomical level,”4 says Milton-Jones. “You cannot put everything she does well in the course of a game on the stat sheet. Whether it’s the way she communicates with her team verbally or the passes she makes or the moves she makes that will allow the defense to adjust a certain way in order for me to get a wide-open jumper. The game is so easy when you’re playing with someone like her.”
Leslie will bring a full family contingent with her to Beijing—her husband, her daughter, her two stepdaughters and her younger sister. She will also embrace being with her teammates and work together with them to achieve their shared goal of Olympic gold.
“It’s an awesome stage and we want to be at our best,” Leslie says. “We want to represent our country to the best of our abilities. We have this thing where it’s gold or failure, I guess. We’ve kind of been bred that way. So that’s our main goal.”—Lois Elfman #40

Bonus Points
1. Leslie and Lockwood each published books this year. Hers is titled Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You: The Making of a Champion and his is Women Have All the Power. Too Bad They Don’t Know It.
2. She tried out for the 1992 Olympic team but didn’t make the squad.
3. Although Leslie’s three-time Olympic teammate Dawn Staley retired from playing in 2006, the University of South Carolina head coach will be courtside in Beijing as an assistant coach.
4. Leslie is a three-time WNBA MVP: 2001, 2004 and 2006. She is also a member of the WNBA’s All-Decade Team.

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images