Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: the newest member of the Celebrity Alliance, Rushia Brown
I met as she’s now the Player Programs & Franchise Development Manager of the newest WNBA team, the Las Vegas Aces. We were discussing some team business things, but we got to talking, & she shared how she’d be interested in joining the movement.
A four year player at Furman, she’d go on to play professionally overseas, until the WNBA began play its first year, in 1997. Not originally drafted, Rushia was invited to camp w the Cleveland Rockers & made the team, helping them to 2 conference titles in 7 years.
Takes a special person to make a team that way & succeed, & when you read her story of her trauma history, you’ll see just how much she was able to overcome, which was part of building that inner strength.
She’d play a little more overseas after the WNBA, & would win 3 Euro League titles. Amongst many charitable efforts, she also started: The Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae Association. The focus of the WPBAA is to provide resources to women as they transition out of the game. Think she gets “it”? Please help us welcome Rushia!
“I lost my father to cancer as a freshman in high school & went into a downward spiral. After multiple negative situations, I found sports & my life took a turn. I had a way to connect with my dad & make him proud of me.
While my sport gave me that connection, when I retired from pro basketball, I went into a depression because I didn’t know who I was & what my purpose was.
One year when I was overseas, someone broke into my house while I was asleep in my bed & came into my room. I was traumatized but knew I had to keep it to myself & not tell my family because they would want me to come home.
The sum of these events over those years made me emotionless & incapable of connecting with anyone or anything.
Initially, I turned to alcohol & inappropriate behavior. Then sports became my coping mechanism. After retiring I went to speak with someone when my mom brought it to my attention that I was always locked in my room in the dark IN THE BED. I was diagnosed with High Functioning Depression.
I started to improve from that dark place by making myself get active, doing community service & helping others, not sitting around too long & just focusing on how badly I was feeling.
I realized that so many people experience similar situations & there is more to be learned when we share our vulnerabilities to empower one another.
My story, once I shared publicly, was very well-received & people connected with me because they didn’t just see me as an athlete that achieved their goals, but as a woman that had obstacles, challenges & set backs but still managed to push through & be successful.”