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Women Bisnow
   
June 17, 2008
 
 
 

HOMETOWN HEROINE


This issue of Washington Women is presented by
Reznick Group:
"Building Business Value"

 

By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business

LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan. There’s never been a shortage of basketball players for boys to idolize. For the thousands of girls who love the game, like DC native Monique Currie, there used to be none. Then came the WNBA in 1997. “I was a Mystics fan and attended all the games during the summers,” says Currie who went from Potomac’s Bullis School to become an All-American at Duke. “To be in high school and to see the league come about made me even more determined to play professionally.” She’s doing it now for her hometown squad, the Mystics.

 

The Mystics have been after their hometown girl from the beginning. The team failed to get Currie in the 2006 draft (she was the third overall pick), and again in a dispersal draft after the Charlotte Sting team folded (Currie was the first pick). Washington finally brought her home in 2007 through a trade with the Chicago Sky.

As a Blue Devil, Currie was granted a fifth year of eligibility and received a masters in humanities. “Duke's basketball program was very structured and academics always came first. When I was granted a 5th year, I didn’t hesitate in pursuing a graduate degree.” Currie scored over 1,500 points at Duke and led the team to the 2002, 2003 and 2006 NCAA Final Fours. On the Mystics, Currie joins her fellow Duke alum, guard/forward Alana Beard.

 

“Soccer moms” may have become part of our lexicon but “basketball dads” are close behind. Monique’s father Michael, her number one fan, is a fixture at Mystics games. “His encouragement has been amazing. He tries to be at every game, function, and meeting there is.”

Though Title IX was passed in 1972, it wasn’t until the late 90s with the formation of the WNBA and WUSA Soccer (2000) that women broke through the glass ceiling over America’s stadiums. “Women's pro sports are showing young women that there’s a visible goal that can be reached. It also gives players a platform to speak on social issues,” says Currie, who likes the Mystics’ squad. “We have a complete team with our veteran leadership and young athleticism. We’re willing to sacrifice all that’s necessary to accomplish our overall team goals.”

 

“There are many challenges to being a professional athlete but the advantages outweigh them all. The hardest part is going overseas during the off-season,” says Currie, who like other WNBA players spends eight months of the year in professional leagues in
Russia and Western Europe, returning only for the four-month WNBA season.

Currie has often said that the most important thing she learned at Duke was to make connections. “Basketball isn’t something that I will do for the rest of my life,” says Currie. “I intend to use the connections I made throughout the years to start my next adventure. I truly believe in the saying: ‘It’s not what you know, it's who you know.’” Spoken like a true Washingtonian.

 
 
 
 
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