Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What an Experience at the White House!

I was invited to the White House to lead a clinic on behalf of Michelle Obama’s initiative, “Let’s Move,” WNBA Fit, and the Phoenix Mercury. Prior to the clinic, we did a tour of the White House. Following the tour we were greeted by President Obama to honor the Mercury for their WNBA Championship.

After he spoke, he walked over and shook my hand. (Admittedly, my heart was racing a bit...well..a lot) I said, “Hello, I am Jennifer Azzi.” He said, “Jennifer, I know who you are, congratulations.” What?? I was shocked...blew me away! I guess he really is a basketball fan...and he is extremely respectful and complementary of the women’s game.

We talked briefly and then he greeted more people. He has such a kindness, and sincerity about him. And he is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met. What an amazing experience!

Following our meeting with President Obama, we went out to the White House Basketball Court for our clinic. The court is really special, very private, surrounded by lush greenery and a 15-foot fence. This is the place where President Obama, an avid basketball player, shoots hoops. The ball rack is full of balls with his name branded on them.

The players from the Mercury and I worked with 40 boys and girls from a local Y. We were the first ever public event on the White House Basketball Court! In spite of extreme heat and humidity, the clinic was amazing! The kids will never forget being on the White House Court — not many people can say they have had that experience... It was a very special day for all.

Diana Taurasi and Renee Brown

Members of the WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury

Sunday, July 11, 2010

WNBA Cares in Connecticut

Donna Orender, right, and the WNBA All-Stars

I hosted a WNBA Cares Fit event with several WNBA All-Stars and Olympians at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

A big part of the WNBA Cares mission is to help teach and educate kids to be healthy and active. I also had the opportunity to watch our next Olympians practice. The level of play and talent is outstanding!

Geno Auriemma, head coach University of Connecticut and Olympic team coach

Geno Auriemma, UCONN’s head coach, is our Olympic team’s head coach as well. I like his intensity and his teaching style with the players. As I prepare for next season coaching my team at USF, it is invaluable to learn from the great coaches around the country.

July is recruiting month and most coaches, including myself, are out nearly 20 days this month watching tournaments all over the country. We were recruiting at a huge tournament, End of The Trail, in Portland prior to my quick time out with WNBA All-Star.

Now it’s back to recruiting in Chicago! As I watch the young women compete in hopes of getting a college scholarship, I am so grateful that women have these kinds of opportunities to fulfill their dreams.

It was not that long ago that women did not have opportunities like this....

Jayne Appel, WNBA All-Star from Stanford

Tamika Catchings, WNBA All-Star and Olympian

Teresa Edwards, 5-time Olympian

Friday, July 9, 2010

Be Your Best!

We just finished a week of the 3rd Annual Azzi Camp in Mill Valley (here's a post from last year's event). We had 115 boys and girls. It was a blast! Our staff was outstanding and the kids were tremendous!

I hope they all left loving basketball and having a desire to, as our motto states, “Be Your Best.” I feel lucky to live in a community where kids are very active and there is so much support for our public schools.