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Dawn Staley Podcast NETLIFE Details & How to Listen

ByQueen Ballers Club|@queenballers| January 10, 2022
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Dawn Staley’s new podcast, NETLIFE, with Just Women’s Sports will debuted on Wednesday, January 12. The name of the podcast represents Dawns’s own twist on the phrase: ball is life. “I’ve given basically all of my life to the game,” she said.

Dawn went on to elaborate that she’s forever indebted to basketball. “It’s given me so much, that every day I try to repay it in some form or fashion,” the No. 1 ranked South Carolina women’s basketball coach said. “Coaching allows me to do that, just working with young people every day.” Her podcast is another way she’ll continue to give back as well.

Today Dawn Staley has a national championship ring, and an AP Coach of the Year award to her name — all after a playing career that included three Olympic gold medals and induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Most recently, she was the head coach for Team USA and led them to their 7th straight gold medal in last summer’s Olympics.

“I’m thrilled to be launching “NETLIFE” with Just Women’s Sports,” Dawn Staley said in a release BoardroomTV reports. “This team is incredibly talented and I’m looking forward to working with them to deliver meaningful interviews with individuals who have influenced my life, in hopes of inspiring listeners.

Discover the NETLIFE Dawn Staley podcast with Just Women’s Sports

As for what we can look forward to with NETLIFE this season, Dawn will sit down with guests across a spectrum of industries and have long-form discussions about the things that matter to her and her listeners.

“I really have a fascination for how successful people become successful,” Dawn told Insider. “We see successful people, but we don’t really know their journey, and more times than not, their journey looks like everybody else’s journey.”

The show sounds like it has the opportunity to be a basketball twist on David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction: candid interviews about things that really matter, that also gets to the core of the how and the why.

Dawn says her dream guests include President Clinton, Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, Reggie Love, and Michael Jordan. And NETLIFE has been given the green light for a 10-episode run — plenty of time to fit them all in and more.

“We’re looking for people who have a voice, who have something to share that’s not your average answer,” Dawn said.

“I want to get to the depth of people. I want to figure out what makes them go, what makes them blossom, what makes them hurt, what makes them who they are. Leaders, politicians, change-makers.” she continued.

The debut episode features WNBA icon, three-time WNBA MVP and four-time Olympic gold medalist, Lisa Leslie. In it, the hoopers recount their days playing basketball together for Team USA. They also discuss Leslie’s experience playing in the inaugural WNBA season, having children as a professional athlete and how she’s used her platform to effect change.

Lisa Leslie on NETLIFE with Dawn Staley

Here’s a quick sneak preview of what to expect from the show. The podcast begins with us learning more about Lisa’s basketball beginnings and how she discovered the game in middle school. “When I think back about middle school, I was a kid who was very timid, I had some really tough cousins that you remind me of, just tough girls that was playing football, baseball, roughing it up with the boys – it didn’t matter. But what I loved about my cousins were that they were fearless. I was fearful. I was on the side, and every time they stopped I’d be like ‘You OK? You need some water?’ I was really so timid. But my admiration for my girl cousins and the toughness that they had was something that I aspired to be.”

“So here I am 6-foot 6th grade, don’t play no ball, and everyone keeps asking me do I play ball, and I’m like ‘No.’ So I asked my mom, ‘Mom, why do people keep asking me if I play basketball?’ And she’s said, ‘Well, people associate when you’re tall that you play sports.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh well I don’t want to play’ so she’s like ‘You don’t have to play.'”

“Cut to I go to middle school there was this girl – all it takes is one person to really inspire you – so Sharon Hargrove, shout out to Shay, I always tell this story about Shay. Everybody knew Shay’s name, they’d be like, ‘There goes Shay!’ and I’m like ‘Who is Shay?’ And they’re like Shay is on the basketball team. But Shay was dope. She could shoot, she could score, she could crossover back in the day, she had hanging jumpers, she was just so amazing.”

“So in my mind I just really wanted to be popular. So wanting to be popular is what drove me to basketball. I said ‘I’m going to go try out,’ I told coach ‘If I fall down on this concrete one time I’m out of here.’ Thank god I didn’t fall down. I couldn’t make a layup, I didn’t know what the rules were, I didn’t know which way to run but our team went 7 and 0. We won the middle school championship, and they gave me a little trophy with a boy on it, and I was hooked. That’s the back story to me getting into basketball.”

Despite being hooked, Lisa wasn’t quite yet the 101 point scorer we know today, at that time. It took a long summer in the gym with her cousin Craig for her to form the mentality and work ethic that led her to the champion we know today.

“The middle story is that my cousin Craig, who’s my only boy cousin took me to the gym every day for a year. And I went in there like ‘Oh I played basketball last year – I was 7 and 0.’ And he’s like, ‘Let me see what you got.’ And of course I start shooting. And he’s like, ‘Hold up, get on the wall, get in a squat.’ And I’m like ‘Dude, I just came to play with the ball.’ And he’s like ‘No. This is what you gotta decide like right now, today.” said Lisa.

“So he turned into a straight drill sergeant. Like ‘If you’re going to play, you gon’ play the game the right way or you ain’t playing at all.’ And I was like ‘OK’. So he asked if I was going to play the right way and I’m like yeah I want to play the right way. So I think it was just me understanding that I had to change my persona to be stronger, tougher to play this sport, and my cousin really changed me like ‘Are you going to do this or are you not? You gon be soft or you not?’, and I was thinking I’m not. I want to be tough. And he just started to train me in a way that was like you give it your all or you don’t come in this gym, and we don’t go half way. He was seriously laying down the law. And that’s how I got my work ethic.”

“Once I warm up for basketball, it’s all or nothing. I’ve never played or practiced half way….because the sport was never introduced to me that way. When you play this sport, you get the opportunity to lace them up, you go hard or you don’t come to the gym. So Craig really instilled that in me early, and then it was just those habits. We put in so much time and hours playing pick up anywhere, any men, any boys, any girls, and grandmas. I play pick up anywhere all day just trying to hone my skills, but playing it hard.”

Next Dawn digs in on Lisa’s time spent with the national team: “So you’re a firm believer in dominance takes time to develop. And it truly is a mindset. So you were a pretty amazing you player, then you go to college and kill it in college, and you become a part of the USA National Basketball team for years. When we were on that historical 96 team what do you think about our team and comparing it to now? We didn’t really have TV, we didn’t really have all the luxuries of what some of these young players out here. They had a carrot dangled in front to them with the WNBA, and we just had the Olympics.”

“Tenacity. I think passion. All those things that are very cliche. But that’s what we had.”

said Lisa.

She continued, “Think about you and I, and our relationship. Philly – you tough, you got that East Coast everything about you. You don’t make friends with everybody. You’re a hard worker. And me California, LA, laid back. I came in being fashionable – whether it was expensive or not – probably not, but I came in with my tie dye, my bell bottom pants. I was just authentically me. But what we have always had in common was our work ethic.”

“And our work ethic was: it does not matter who’s in front of us, we’re going after it, we’re going 100% .”

“And from the day I met you, I was in the 11th grade, and that was my mindset. You were a freshman in college, but we were of the same cloth. And I think for that, from day one, the way you played and getting after it, you ready to fight and I’m like I’m fighting for her too. That part of the game for me is always been like I love it and I’m passionate about it and if we’re on the same team I’m fighting for you.” Lisa continued.

“When I think about the 1996 team they put together the team. It wasn’t the best players in the country, but we had the best chemistry and the best understanding of sacrifice and self for the team. And I’ve always been that way.”

“Could I have averaged more points in my whole career? Absolutely, but for me to sacrifice my shot for your shot, I would do that 10/10 times. Because that’s the kind of teammate I want to be. If I can make you happy and then you have your success, I know those 10 shots I pass up, I knew that you would pass up 20 shots to get it back to me. And that what makes us different, our passion was there in our heart – and our fight. No matter which generation you look at we’re right up there at the top, and we always will be.”

She continued on to reflect about what’s different today. “Because these young kids, they do have a lot. They get to see a lot more visually, they’re a lot more connected about what’s going on around the country. You can see what’s going on overseas, and look them up and see. We didn’t have that, so in some ways I don’t know that their level of work ethic and passion is the same because they see it – they want the glitz and the glamour, they want the deals already. But who’s in that gym at 6 in the morning? Who’s flying to Colorado Spring five days before the actual try out just to get acclimated to the altitude, to get sick, and then be ready for the try out so we can run faster than everybody else? That’s sacrifice, and we did that on pennies. We didn’t have money like we do now. We were trying to make it.”

“And Tara Vanderveer for as amazing coach as she was, she drove a hard whip. We would practice, fly, and then depending upon what time we landed we would go practice again in that next country. It was hard on our bodies to recover. But you know one thing we didn’t do? Complain.”

Dawn said, “…There is a time and place to complain. And that is in the confines of your own room with your roommate.”

Dawn then asked Lisa about the challenges of being a mother while also being a world-class athlete, “A few years ago, Skylar Diggins-Smith talked about the struggles playing while pregnant and not being able to tell anyone. For example, you took a season off after you had Lauren, and then came back and was balling. But did you ever consider retiring after you had Lauren?”

Lisa said, “Well it is a ton of pressure to figure out when in any woman’s career when is the right time to have a child based on your job. With {Lauren} being born in June, there’s no way I’m going to make this happen. So the hardest part is to tell the franchise I’m not going to be able to play next season. For us to go from first place to last place was difficult. Thank god for Candace Parker coming in that next class. The Sparks finishing last and getting the number one pick, everything ended up working out. But it was definitely a lot of pressure. So about pay, what happens? I believe – and don’t quote me on this – but I believe the Sparks paid me half my salary while pregnant. I think. Possibly I got nothing. But I think they did, that would have been the right thing to do.”

Lisa continued, “Now having a child, very difficult to figure out, and I think the WNBA has done a phenomenal job. But Lauren went everywhere with me. I did have to pay for my nanny to come with me which was tough. My baby went to…China, even for the 2008 Olympics, she’s there at 15 months.”

Dawn said, “Back then, did you really think the league would be around and would last this long?”

Lisa explained, “I had hoped so. First off, I thought the only way a pro women’s league would last in the US was if the NBA backed it and was involved. So check one. I think the second thing was with the WNBA we had some moments where we hit a lull. I think when the Comets went away, when teams started to have to become independent of the NBA teams I was a little nervous…But it really then felt like with the new television deals that was a great support and to be really honest social media really helped elevate our league to a point where people could communicate their interest and support of the league.”

“And to really put a bow on it the pandemic – making people stop and sit still. We were all excited to see anything on TV, and I think you just got a lot more fans to stop and watch the WNBA and be like ‘Dang these girls is ballin’,’ it was just good basketball. And obviously we had social unrest that happened, their stance and their participation was phenomenal, and again the support of social media. We know social media can definitely have its low moments and not be great, but it also has been amazing for the game.”

The duo then dug into the biggest areas of growth in the women’s game as a whole.

Lisa said, “We need to have more corporate support and public support. To see the Finals with Chicago Sky against the Phoenix Mercury, and we’re still in a pandemic but to see that stadium full of people and excited, and for the whole series to be as amazing as it was, that is great basketball. It’s not just women’s basketball. It’s great basketball.”

“And that level of competition and those fans, they’re excited in each moment. That’s what it’s about – it’s growth. We need for those games on record be 10, 12, 15 thousand every single night. That would be growth for us. That would also increase corporate growth because we know that 70% of our support are women, and women are the decision makers in the house when it comes to purchasing and supporting corporations. And we need to have corporations that truly support women, and that support minorities and that support black women.”

“…I really do believe player for player, talent is just getting better. We played and did our thing without having access to all these different ways of training, and eating, and strength training, and moves even. We played so instinctively, we learned a lot from other fellows, and men, and watching some NBA games. But the level of where the game is now and what these kids have access to in terms of through social media and pause and being able to watch, and pick..I mean I would have been the bomb in this era because I’m such a student of the game that there is so much more information to learn…I could never go back and pull up video of Cheryl Miller.”

The women also cover their “make me laugh” game, their time together as roommates, what Lisa thinks about players using their platforms as activists, and much more.

South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley is the perfect fit for the podcast

As for the host, she brings the credibility (and then some!) to ask the hard questions. Dawn Staley is a basketball legend and a North Philly icon. She’s used to making things happen and breaking barriers.

As a child, she brought her own ball to the local blacktop courts so that the older guys had to let her join if they wanted to play, since there often wasn’t another decent ball to be found.

Last year, she and Arizona head coach Adia Barnes became the first two Black head coaches to ever cross paths at the Final Four. Dawn told reporters, “Our history here in women’s basketball is so filled with so many Black bodies, that for this to be happening in 2021, to me, is long overdue, but we’re proud.”

She also locked in a seven-year, $22.4 million contract with the Gamecocks, making her the highest-paid Black coach in women’s basketball. And was the first Black head coach of the USA Basketball program, when she led Team USA to the Olympic gold in Tokyo last summer.

She recognized the impact it held for the future: “I know some people are like, if you can coach, you can coach. That’s true, but when it’s a first, and when it’s history-making, I think it’s something to be proud of. It also allows other doors to be opened and opportunities for Black coaches to hold these positions.”

Dawn Staley joined the TODAY Show to talk about NETLIFE

Dawn Staley recently joined the 3rd Hour of TODAY to chat about what to expect from the podcast.

“The opportunity came up to partner with Just Women’s Sports, and if you know anything about JWS they treat women’s sports like a sports. And they want to provide access to me, and what’s happening around women’s basketball to give the fans access to it.”

“Fans want information. They want to be in the know. I think what we’ve done here at the University of South Carolina, leading the nation in attendance over the last 7 years we give them access to us. And what better way to do that than on a broader national scale.” said Dawn.

Host Al Roker dug in on the disparities that still exist between men’s and women’s sports today. “Coach, you raise a lot of issues in this podcast, including the inequities between men’s and women’s sports. The average WNBA salary is literally about one hundredth of the average of the men in the NBA. What’s your take on that?” asked Al.

“My take is on that is obviously the NBA is a billion dollar corporation, and we know that the WNBA is aspiring to become that type of money making machine. But there are innovative ways that we can raise that level of salary for women by investing in women. Because we all know what you invest in, you’re going to get something positive out of it.”

“Women’s basketball nowadays is a sport that is in high demand. Everybody wants a little piece of it.”

Now I think we have to get the right people in place to make sure that, it’s just getting better, and it’s putting us in a position where we feel it’s worth our time because we’re all passionate about our sport. I do think Cathy Engelbert is doing a great job with the WNBA. The salaries have increased. So we’re moving in the right direction, and I don’t think our comparison is always our male counterparts.”

“It is, what can we do within the sport to help women play year round here in a place in which they created their reputations and they put on a great show for us.”

Watch the full interview here:

How to listen to the Dawn Staley podcast NETLIFE

You can listen to the NETLIFE intro teaser now, and tune in every Wednesday. It’s available across a number of free platforms:

Episodes out now: Ari Chambers, Alex English, Lisa Leslie.

Tune into Dawn Staley’s podcast NETLIFE

“All of my life, I’ve been a shy person. I’m OK not talking,” Dawn told JWS. “But I think now is the time in which people are listening. Sometimes people talk and there’s no listening involved, and people shy away from using their voice because they’re not being heard. I think I’m at a place in my career where the things I’m saying, people need to hear.”

And we’re hype to hear it all.

Up next, learn about the newest league on the pro women’s basketball scene in the US, Athletes Unlimited Basketball.

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