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Lisa Leslie Headshot

The First Daughter of Title IX

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I always get asked about the 101 points because people never believe that I really scored that many point in one half of a game.

In every interview, without a doubt, the question comes up. The game was more than two decades ago, when I was in high school. That was the first time I received national attention and appeared in Sports Illustrated. My fellow Capital One Cup advisory board member, ESPN's Rece Davis, recently brought up the 101-point game, saying: "... in terms of competition, you have to remember, when you and I were growing up, it would take a truly extraordinary women's competitor to catch the nation's attention."

Title IX changed that.

Title IX was signed on June 23, 1972. I was born two weeks later. Some have called me the "First Daughter of Title IX." But there are many of us who are celebrating 40th birthdays this year along with the amendment, including Mia Hamm and Summer Sanders. Together we're of a generation of female athletes who kept our heads down, focusing on the sport itself, while Title IX blazed a trail in front of us. We made a name thanks to the opportunity of Title IX to have careers in sports.

While I've retired, I'm still forging ahead, making a career in that sports world that Title IX helped build for female athletes. I received my MBA and transitioned to a businesswoman using the skills I have learned on the court in the boardroom. I have launched the Lisa Leslie Basketball & Leadership Academy, where boys and girls learn basketball skills like the pro's, and receive Leadership skills to prepare them for the game of life. I'm currently in my second year as co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. My goal is to bring in more corporate sponsors and assist our management in an effort to increased ticket sales. I've also partnered with brands like Capital One, which is helping promote gender equity in collegiate sports with the Capital One Cup, which recognizes the best NCAA Division I men's and women's athletics programs. The Capital One Cup gives women's athletics programs their own trophy and scholarship money. Even with Title IX, many female NCAA athletes don't go on to play professionally, and the $200,000 Capital One Cup gives each winning program -- men's and women's, for a total of $400,000 -- can help tremendously toward education to prepare for life outside of sports.

The ultimate goal of every athlete should be making the sport better for the next generation. As Jackie Robinson did in baseball for African-American baseball players, so did players like Anne Myers and Cheryl Miller for me and my teammates. One of the highest accolades in my career, professionally and personally, happened when President Barack Obama said, that along with Billie Jean King -- I was his favorite female athlete of all time.

To me, title IX allowed so many student-athletes a platform to play a sport we love. So we took the stage and open doors for many generations to follow. At the end of the day, all the hard work was worth it.

Lisa Leslie is a four-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time WNBA MVP and two-time champion. She is an Advisory Board member for the Capital One Cup. For a look at the Cup final standings, fans can go to www.capitalonecup.com, www.facebook.com/capitalonecup -- or follow @CapitalOneCup on Twitter.

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