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Interview: Jori Davis talks WNBA Draft, overseas experiences, activism and community

Jori Davis, a standout at Indiana from 2007-2011, is the creator of the WEVOLV app. She shares her insights on basketball, leadership and life in general.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Indiana at Clemson
Jori Davis drives to the hoop for the Indiana Hoosiers during a 2010 game.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Jori Davis is a leader and a mentor. Her app, WEVOLV, helps players all over the world to stay connected and share their insights on teams and agents, allowing them to make the best career decisions possible. Jori herself currently plays in Spain, for IDK Euskotren, after beginning her season in Lyon. In prior years, she played in Puerto Rico, Australia, Israel, Switzerland, Greece, Romania and Italy. With us, she mostly talks about stuff off the court, but make no mistake about it—Jori is still a baller.

You’ve been a pro since 2011, when you were drafted 33rd overall by the Indiana Fever. This is where your journey began. Before we get to where basketball took you, I’d like us to return to that day or those couple of days. What were the next couple of days like for you and what did you think about after being picked?

Truthfully, after being picked, I was excited and happy. Felt like I’d made it, as if I’d proved something. For some, just getting the name call would’ve been enough, yet for me it wasn’t. So when I reflect on that day now, the truth is I was hungry for more and I knew the name call meant nothing in comparison to making a team and leaving a legacy at the pro level.

I didn’t know I would be drafted and I was in class at Indiana University when a student told me that my agent at the time called before. Not what you would dream as a draft day...[laughing]. All in all, I’m blessed to have the experience and to say I was drafted.

Instead of staying in the US and enjoying some stability, you got to play all over Europe, in Australia, Puerto Rico... it’s crazy where life can take you. Were you at any point considering quitting and just returning home to New Orleans to enjoy life outside of basketball? If yes, what kept you coming back?

Quitting was never a thought due to being away from home or lack of stability. I thought of retiring early when the reality of pay inequality and lack of professionalism in the sport overseas was brought to my attention. Wanting to help bring these issues to light and build a solution for future athletes is what gave me the energy to keep going. To keep experiencing everything, I needed to build a solution. The lifestyle is also unmatched and I knew there was no other job that would afford me the chance to live in such great destinations. I live the game, but many in the business don’t, and, to some extent, it has taken some hit on how I approach my relationship with a sport I loved since birth .

Was there any country in particular which played the biggest part in shaping you as a person?

I’ve spent most of my career in Italy. So I would have to say Italy is my top country where I’ve experienced a lot of highs and lows which shaped me in many ways

You are the creator of WEVOLV. For those readers unfamiliar with the app, can you tell them what is it and what in particular inspired you to create it?

WEVOLV is an app that provides athlete with access to information and resources to make better career decisions. More specifically, the platform allows athletes to get non-biased second opinions on their contract agreements to ensure they sign quality deals. WEVOLV was created out of my own experiences and listening to the continued pain points athletes faced, yet no one seemed to find it valuable enough to build to solve those problems.

The most important thing to you in life seems to be inspiring others, leading by example. Why do you think people look up to athletes and why do they expect athletes to give back?

Difficult for me to answer that, because I’m not sure why those individuals admire athletes in such a way. However, I would assume many dream to be a top athlete, a judge, an actor, but only few achieve their goals. So I assume they feel athletes have something they don’t. In some cases, yes, athletes who are elite are blessed with attributes that allow them to be successful, but I’m sure those individuals too have attributes that allow them to be great in another area of life. Ultimately, we all have a choice to pick a lane and choose everyday to go after a goal with all our being. I think in some cases many will see we are not that different after all.

One of your app’s goals is to form a global community of American athletes playing overseas. Were you always aware of the importance of community or was it something that life taught you?

The goal is a global community, not just American, but athletes from all cultures. We all share so many common challenges. No athlete should feel isolated in their journeys, especially when it comes to having access to information to make a key choice in their career. I grew up in a community that valued unity and togetherness, so I’d say my foundation at a young age taught me the power of community and once I left I longed for that again.

As a 34-year-old, what Jori Davis-the player can still give the game of basketball and how many years do you think you still have left on the court?

As a player, I believe I can still provide a lot of value to a team. IQ, leadership, ability to play a role, and I am still a dynamic offensive player. I believe the years left in the journey depends less on me and a lot more on other factors...[laughing]. But if you need a number, three to four years, if I decide to continue.

A special thank you to Lorenzo Gallotti of Two Points agency for arranging the interview.