Sports has a huge impact on our lives, whether its getting the family together to watch a game or even enjoying the activities ourselves or with friends. Basketball has played a huge part of many childhoods and has helped form tons of opportunities for young people everywhere, so it’s easy for us to forget the issue of gender equality that can escape our minds from time to time. We were lucky enough to partner up with UBELONG and asked sports analyst LaChina Robinson to explain the importance of diversity and what basketball means to her.
My name is La China Robinson and I am a basketball analyst and founder of Stretch Beyond. First of all, the game of basketball has gotten me everywhere. As a young girl, I had low self-esteem and the first time I stepped on the basketball court I really felt empowered, confident and strong – so the game started to shape me early in life. It then gave me an opportunity to go to college; I was one of sixteen children and the only college graduate so far. Basketball has shaped everything that I am today and my experience at Wake Forrest taught me a lot about myself, it was hard! It taught me to be more goal orientated and showed me a lot of what I could be in my future.
It’s really been about the purpose of impacting lives through sport, especially with women and that’s my purpose.
After playing basketball at Wake Forrest, I saw the way the game was impacting lives – especially in women. There weren’t a lot of female athletes growing up that I was exposed to, and it brought a different dimension to the strength and the confidence that a woman could have through sport. So when I was done playing, I didn’t want to leave basketball, I wanted to take it with me. It’s really been about the purpose of impacting lives through sport, especially with women and that’s my purpose. It’s about young girls and helping them understand that they can be strong and powerful and that they have what it takes to reach their goals. Everyday that I walk into a gym to cover Women’s Basketball that’s exactly what I aim to do.
It’s important for me to see more women in sports because diversity is what makes our world great; diversity within genders, diversity of thought, culture and experience. So no room in this world is complete unless we have different types of people represented in it. I’m really passionate about making sure that we break into those rooms- we need to be in those spaces because we’re just as valuable as everyone else.
I have to walk in and say ‘hey, we’re going to cover the women just like we do the men’ and it’s a little bit of a battle sometimes but it’s one that I’m willing to take on.
I’ve faced a lot of hurdles being a woman in sports, you’ve got to walk into the room and know more than anyone else just to establish your credibility as a woman in the room. It’s still an everyday journey for me because I cover women’s sports and I’m very passionate about this space. I have to walk in and say ‘hey, we’re going to cover the women just like we do the men’ and it’s a little bit of a battle sometimes but it’s one that I’m willing to take on.
You’ve got to risk people being like ‘oh, here comes that girl who’s talking about women’s basketball’ and you know they don’t want to hear it. When you understand that you’re opening the doors and pathing the way for other women behind you, whether it’s the athletes who need exposure or the women that are covering the game, you’re willing to sit in that room. There are many hurdles but I think if we just continue to fight everyday we will continue to make progress.
UBELONG means that you have what it takes. You’re enough in who you are right now. There’s nothing that you are lacking; sometimes we tend to look at what we don’t have before we look at what we do have. UBELONG just means that you’re already there and believing that whatever it is that you want is already inside you just have to manifest it, believe in yourself and keep on pushing.