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by ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)
Over the course of five days I got the opportunity to merge two of my passions, my love of writing and women’s basketball. As a hobby, I covered three WNBA games in two cities which was a lot of fun and something I won’t forget.
I witnessed five of the league’s 12 teams (New York Liberty, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, Atlanta Dream and Washington Mystics). It was a whirlwind adventure. I was able to write something positive on every squad I saw.
Can you imagine me discussing parenting with the Liberty’s Bria Hartley? Or believe I was offered banana pudding by Mystics forward Tianna Hawkins before our interview in which we discussed her returning better than ever after giving birth? I ate a pecan danish with nuts in the team’s media room, and laughed with guard Natasha Cloud, with who I share a special bond, both raised in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
My trip started in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday with a morning camp game between the Mystics and Sun. It continued in New York on Friday with an entertaining Liberty-Wings contest that rocked Madison Square Garden. The journey concluded Sunday in Washington with the Dream-Mystics.
One of the best parts of my three-game five-day trip was being able to witness and interview some of the best women’s basketball players on the planet. I was treated to career performances by Tina Charles of the Liberty and Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics. Charles scored a career best 36 points to lead the Liberty to a thrilling, 93-89, over the Wings on Friday.
In addition, I witnessed during my travels in my car and on the train, Liberty guard Shevonte Zellous scoring 27 points, Dream guard Tiffany Hayes dropping 24 points and Sun guard Shakina Stricklen ripping the nets for 20 points.
I also had the pleasure to speak with some of the WNBA’s May award winners in Dallas’ Allisha Gray, who was the WNBA Rookie of the Month, and Hayes, who was named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month. They were gracious and great to speak with as was Connecticut’s Jasmine Thomas, Dallas’ Skylar Diggins-Smith, and Washington’s Ivory Latta, who has just released a children’s book that was exciting to discuss.
One of the coolest things that happened was learning Thomas and I share a mutual friend in my awesome NCAA Leadership Institute classmate Armani Dawkins.
Aside from driving 587.2 miles over the course of the five days, the Northeast corridor trips produced two entertaining game stories, six compelling features on some of the underrated players in the league such as Thomas, Atlanta’s Brianna Kiesel, Hawkins and Cloud as well as a notebook. Many of the stories have been hyperlinked throughout this piece with more to come over the next couple of days.
So yes, I’ve been busy attending, tweeting, networking, interviewing, laughing, having fun, and writing.
Another cool part of this adventure has been the love shown in return by some of the players who enthusiastically retweeted my stories about them to their followers.
I’ll be back on the WNBA trail later this month.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” — Hebrews 13:16
By ROB KNOX
As I shuffled from office to office during my intense two-day interviews at ESPN a few years ago, I was consistently asked one question, which had nothing to do with my sports knowledge, problem solving ability and people skills.
While they were all critical components in being considered for a position at my dream job, there was a qualification not listed on the job application that proved to be the most important character trait.
I was consistently asked “Tell me how did you help somebody grow and reach their potential?”
I recently opened an email from “Culture Wins Championships”, a daily leadership devotional read this gem, “Our life is not for us. Our success is not for us. Our knowledge and experiences are not for us. They are to be shared and passed down to those we lead, so that they can learn and grow and succeed, and then do the same for those they lead.”
Helping others is soothing for the soul and has had a positive impact on my physical and mental health. Focusing on others with a cheerful heart has significantly reduced stress levels for me.
We all have unique experiences. Many of us have been exposed to some awesome quotes, strong reading materials, and terrific motivational speakers throughout our lives. It’s up to us to share, reach back and be the rock for those coming behind us needing to drink from our fountain of wisdom.
Some of the happiest moments in my life have been watching others succeed. I am always filled with pride when watching someone getting their dream job, receiving awards and honors, being inducted into the school hall of fame, earning a promotion, and having acknowledgements in the newspaper.
When you invest in someone and see them winning, everybody triumphs!
I understand that in order to accomplish your goals you must help others achieve theirs by being their ambassadors, spending time with them, delivering feedback when requested, and remaining in constant communication.
I strongly believe that my purpose is to help and inspire others to reach beyond their potential by being enthusiastically dedicated to their growth. It’s why I believe I was led back into athletic communications after working two years at ESPN. Since returning back to the athletic communications field, I’ve been blessed to speak on panels, serve as a facilitator to a group of student-athletes and be a moderator at major NCAA functions.
It’s exciting to receive emails, text messages and/or see social media posts from some of my colleagues, former student-athletes, interns, and graduate assistants sharing all of the wonderful things they are accomplishing in their lives.
As an athletic administrator, the greatest blessing I have is the ability to make a significant impact in the lives of student-athletes, interns and graduate assistants. It takes a special person to be a leader and want to stand out from their peers. I can use my experiences to help them confidently become leaders and champions in life.
Remember, Muhammed Ali said “service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Giving of yourself is required part of the recipe for living a happier and healthier life. Success comes when you find something you are passionate about and perfect it.
Helping others grow should be part of everybody’s DNA.
If someone asked you how you helped someone grow and reach their potential, what would you say?
Rob Knox is currently the Associate Director of Media Relations at Towson University and the CoSIDA second vice president. An award-winning communications professional, Knox has over 15 years of experience in several sectors of the media including sports information, newspapers and television. A member of The Lincoln University of Pennsylvania Athletics Hall of Fame, graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute and 2011 CoSIDA Rising Star Award winner, Knox is one of the most influential, passionate and accomplished athletic communications professionals in the country.