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“We Play Too,” a new women’s basketball comic book from trainer and philanthropist Tremaine Dalton

Available in comic and magna versions, “We Play Too” chronicles what life is like for women athletes outside the WNBA.

Cover art for the comic and magna versions of “We Play Too.”
The Process Basketball

Each year the WNBA drafts 36 incredibly talented athletes, but they hardly are the only ones who deserve a shot at one of the league’s 144 roster spots.

Women overlooked by the WNBA who want to pursue a professional career in basketball often turn to other options: coaching or training, playing professionally in the United States for leagues like Athlete’s Unlimited or playing professionally overseas with the potential to eventually get picked up by a WNBA team.

Playing overseas comes with its own challenges. It can be lonely to pack up and move to a new country, especially if you don’t speak the language. It can also be dangerous, as Brittney Griner learned all too well last year. On the other hand, it can be lucrative, as many players make much more overseas than they would in the WNBA. And perhaps most importantly to many players, playing overseas keeps you in the game.

Tremaine Dalton, founder of The Process Basketball, has trained athletes domestically and internationally for years. As a specialist, he works with athletes who are on their way toward professional careers or pivoting in a new direction. He also collaborates with brands to bring unique visions of basketball to fruition. For example, in August 2023 he spent two weeks in Miami training former NFL star Devin Funchess, who has generated recent NBA buzz, and this month he’s partnered with Danish fashion brand Les Deux to open a basketball court in Manhattan.

Swish Appeal readers already are familiar with The Process, as Dalton has coached Texas’ Shaylee Gonzales for the last two years as she’s considered an attempt at the WNBA. He also has also worked closely with Kalis Loyd, who recently retired in France, and Shahd Abboud, the first Arab-Israeli captain of a (men’s or women’s) basketball team in Israel.

His work with Loyd and Abboud has inspired his latest basketball comic book, the “We Play Too” edition. As the third installment in a series that could be endless, both the cartoon and the manga version of the comic dive into the journeys each woman, highlighting how each has played on courts and in leagues all over the world.

The “We Play Too” ethos

After releasing his first two comics (Old Man Dalton, which tells his own origin story, and 3x3, which chronicles his team’s journey through the sport), Dalton realized there’s a lot of room to tell even more basketball stories. He says, “The objective of the comic is to show that athletes are real-life superheroes. When you see Marvel comics and stuff like that, they have special powers ...our powers is our skills in whatever sport we play. We’ve got to work hard for that sport.”

“It’s not limited to men, it’s women too. You’ve got superheroes like Storm, Jean Gray ... people like Kalis and Shahd, they’re the real-life superheroes.”

Dalton is more than familiar with how the men’s game works around the world. After being named the King of the Rock 1v1 champion in 2011, he played professionally in Israel, Australia and France. He connected with Loyd in 2019 and the pair began working together. At the time, Loyd was preparing for a championship game against Russia and didn’t feel her most confident. Dalton stepped in and the pair addressed her mental needs as a player, as well as her skill set.

Loyd was on the verge of leaving the sport altogether in late 2020 and early 2021, but with Dalton’s guidance, she stuck with the game and joined Toulouse Métropole Basket. The two also worked closely to fight racial and gender inequality in European basketball. In 2023, she retired at the height of her game and launched her own career as a mindset coach and mentor.

The journey of Shahd Abboud

Abboud’s story is different. Born and raised in Nazareth, Israel, she’s had to fight her way through a system that was set up against her success from the start. From outdated ideas about Arab women playing basketball to the politicized reality of living as an Arab in Israel—an inherently dangerous experience with or without a sport attached—there are a million reasons why Abboud could have given up.

The Process Basketball

But she didn’t. After playing in Louisiana at Northwestern State, she returned to Israel and joined Maccabi Haifa, one of the top teams in the country’s league. But Abboud always knew there was a bigger world outside of the (literal) walls of her home, and in the summer of 2021 she and Dalton began working together to help her achieve her goal of playing outside of Israel again.

Abboud’s agent had already connected her with a coach from England who was interested in bringing her onto their team, but things fizzled out. Another opportunity soon arose and within weeks she was on her way to Leicester, England, where she now plays for the Riders in the British Basketball League.

Both Loyd and Abboud have individual journeys that can and do resonate with girls and women around the world. As Dalton put it, “Shahd and Kalis, they’re unique characters. They actually went out and did stuff to try to save the day. Shahd can be compared to Jackie Robinson in terms of what she’s done with the sport of basketball.”

He concluded, “Kalis took on the giants of gender and racial inequality. With me being their coach and their skills trainer and participating in those projects together .. I think this is an opportunity for the world to see what they do.”