Ahead of tonight's WNBA Draft, one of the top players -- and most discussed -- is Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd. There's been so much talked about, regarding, her decision to leave school early.
In a very deep and provocative piece on The Player's Tribune Loyd, took time to really delve into her life, as she wrote about her accomplishments on the court, finding comfort in playing basketball -- and growing up dyslexic.
Here's some excerpts from the piece:
I was 12 years old when my mom thought something might be wrong.
It was an ordinary summer — hot, sticky — just outside of Chicago. I was a typical kid — energetic, playful — enjoying the months between seventh and eighth grades. My life revolved around two things: sports and school. The former came naturally to me. Whether it was basketball or soccer, every athletic endeavor was like breathing. I didn’t have to think about it. My body and mind operated together, almost independent of any thought.
Imagine yourself walking — down the street, from your couch to the kitchen, or even from your car to a store entrance. You don’t have to think about each step. Your body just takes over. That’s what it’s like when I have a ball in my hands or when I’m on the court. Every movement and action is fluid.
School wasn’t as automatic. I listened to my teachers intently and loved to learn, but it seemed to take me far more time and deliberate thought than my classmates to complete simple tasks. Homework? That took hours.
My mother, a teacher, noticed.
One day, she told me that she was taking me to a facility for some tests. There would be cards, some colors, puzzles. This will be fun, I thought. I was young. These were games to me and I love a challenge.
We arrived at the facility, checked in and got started. A couple of specialists told me to relax and answer everything as best I could. We went through flash cards, color tests, numbers and puzzles. I remember laughing and enjoying myself but still not understanding fully why I was there. The tests got harder. I was confused. It might sound strange, but my mind felt … broken. Something wasn’t right.
Days later, my mom got the test results back. She sat me down. A stack of paperwork neatly organized into folders separated us. I stared at the pile. What’s going on? I thought.
She told me I had dyslexia.
I still didn’t understand.
She continues later on in the piece:
Fast forward from that hot summer 10 years ago, and here I am, on the morning of a new life adventure: the WNBA. It’s always been a dream of mine to play professional basketball. And even though I am leaving early, I will absolutely get my degree from Notre Dame and look forward to the day I can hang it on my wall.
My path has been full of challenges, and frankly, I’m not sure if I’d be here without my disability. That was a driving force for all those hard, long hours in the gym. It motivated me to prove I could be successful. My achievements are a testament to my own hard work and the support and sacrifice from those around me, and hopefully now, a source of inspiration for those who struggle with or know someone who struggles with any sort of learning disability. I want to use my platform as a professional athlete to help erase the stigma and motivate people to pursue their dreams regardless of the roadblocks they face.
After being diagnosed, it took time to figure out what worked for me, but I did. And if I close my eyes right now, I can see the back of my future jersey: Loyd. I won’t know what the front will say for another few hours, but the title I want to carry above all others?
Sometimes, we just don't know someone's story, but once we do, it gives us truly a different perspective into who that person truly is. Loyd is projected to be a top-two pick in tonight's draft.