THE BLOG
11/29/2012 05:06 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2013

Why I'm Spending the Off-Season Giving Back

While most of my teammates are playing overseas this time of year, I decided to stay in Atlanta, where I play for the Dream during the summers. I've spent three years in a row playing overseas in between WNBA seasons, and it's taxing on the body. Sometmes you get tired and just need a break. I love basketball, it's my passion and I want it to always be fun, so taking a break keeps me excited to play, and also well rested.

Since basketball is such a short career, I also want to take this time to get to know the Atlanta community and make good connections. When basketball is over I'm not sure exactly what I want to do as of yet. I mean, I do have some ideas, but I want to have options. I don't want to be finished and not know what my next step will be. By me being here, I've had amazing opportunities that have already opened some doors to help me mold my future.

This Saturday I have the opportunity to be one of the speakers at the TEDx Centennial Park Women event in Atlanta. TED talks (Technology, Entertainment and Design) are presented at "an annual event where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about" with "ideas worth spreading." With it coming locally to Atlanta, I believe that it's a great fit for me. It gives me an opportunity to share my ideas and experiences on a huge stage, not just locally but through the internet virally.

My teammate Armintie Price Herrington and I are doing several appearances for the Atlanta Dream around the city -- events for sponsorship, speaking engagements, anything that can help make us a presence. It's very difficult for the Dream to publicize the team and to get continued support without any players in market. Armintie and I know that being here even for a short time will benefit our organization, especially for the upcoming season.

This also gives us a chance to give back to the community. I spent time last week working with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. I've been part of mentoring programs and we've dressed up for Halloween and gave out toys to children at the Children's Hospital of Atlanta. I've gone to talk to high school students, at basketball camps -- we've done pretty much anything and everything we can. It's been a wonderful experience.

There's a lot more to being a professional athlete than just playing. We have a voice, and we're role models. We have a responsibility and obligation to give back. That's something that I am very proud of, and I hope that I can continue to make a positive impact in this community.

Subscribe to Must Reads.
The internet's best stories, and interviews with their authors.