Katie SmithAssistant Coach, New York Liberty

"Your limits are somewhere up there, waiting for you to reach beyond infinity." ― Arnold Henry

August 19

Countdown to My Last 40

The last month of my professional basketball-playing career is upon me! WOW! To think back to the 5th grade when I started playing organized basketball for the first time on an all boys team called the Bobcats. My Mom and Dad had us involved in everything and they had no problem with me playing with the boys. There were no girl's teams like there are now. But it was fun for me because I was playing with my friends.  I was a good sized kid that of course grew faster than the boys and I was coordinated...Thanks to some good genes from Mom and Dad and my ballet and tap days:)) We played all around Southeastern Ohio and had a blast. I learned a lot of the fundamentals from my Dad because he is a very detailed oriented guy and he played sports his whole life. He is a constant learner...watching, reading, asking questions to find out information. He then shared and practiced what he knew and learned with me. Especially a left-handed lay-up!! Learning to jump off the correct foot when doing a left-handed layup was not easy! He actually had me jumping around the house on my right leg and extending up with my left hand imitating a layup:) I always loved and still love being active and playing all sports. I had NO idea that basketball would blossom into all that it has. When I hit junior high I played volleyball, basketball and track plus AAU basketball. It's crazy to see that kids are specializing in one sport. I think that as kids we should try everything if you don't you may be missing out on something that you're really good at. And if you are talented college coaches will notice you. If you do get the opportunity to play in college you will be playing year round so enjoy the variety while you're young! I had no clue about college recruiting and didn't even think about playing in college until I was in junior high when I started getting letters from coaches. There was no ABL or WNBA in the states when I was growing up so I didn't dream of being a professional basketball player. I was focused on school and becoming the best that I could be at my craft...basketball. Like many of you sports to me were as much about spending time with friends, bus trips and travelling as it was playing. in out town we always supported all the sports attending home and away games for the boys and they did the same for us. When I watched the boys games I always thought I should be out there!! A lot of the guys playing were guys I had played against when I was in 5th and 6th grade and I knew I could play with them! We'll pick back up on the reminiscing next time! But nine more games in the regular season and possibly nine more games in my career. Last night I played my last game in Minnesota. I started my WNBA career there and spent the most years with the Lynx. I have great memories and loved playing there. I met so many wonderful people that I still keep up with. The tribute last night was special and the ovation was amazing. Thank you Minnesota Lynx organization and fans for the great times!!