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Interview: Former WNBA big Ziomara Morrison talks playing basketball in 10 countries

The Chilean basketball veteran reminisces about her incredible career.

BASKET BELGIAN CUP WOMEN CASTORS BRAINE VS KANGOEROES MECHELEN
Ziomara Morrison was named MVP of the 2023 Belgian Basketball Cup final.
Photo by TOM GOYVAERTS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Ziomara Morrison’s seen it all when it comes to the game of basketball.

At 34, the Chilean center has 19 years of professional hoops experience under her belt. Everywhere she goes, she posts solid numbers and shows no signs of slowing down. Just last year, playing for Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen, she averaged 24 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals and one block per game for the best team in Belgium. Since 2005 she’s played in Italy, Spain, the WNBA (2012, San Antonio Silver Stars), Chile, Turkey, Poland, Brazil, France and Belgium. She is now balling in Greece.

A person of few words, Morrison is defined by her actions on the court, and these speak for themselves: 2013 Best Center of the Spanish league, 2019 Chilean League Player of the Year, 2023 Belgian League MVP and numerous Player of the Week awards from all over the world.

With your physical gifts —6-foot-5—you’ve always been in high demand throughout your career. Did you get started in basketball early because of your height?

Yes, I did start playing because of my height. When I was 11, I was already 6-foot-3. I got started just because a coach saw me and invited me to join his team.

Was it love at first sight/hoop or was basketball something you just were good at and you “learned” to love the game? Who were the players that you were trying to emulate or just admired?

Basketball is something that captivated me after a while. I never looked up to anyone. When I started in Chile, there was no basketball available to watch. The only basketball thing I could watch was Space Jam. I think I saw it a thousand times (laugh).

Before we get to your international journey, what it’s like to put that national team jersey on? As you’ve pointed out, Chile is not a country with a strong basketball tradition.

It is always an honor to be able to represent my country and to show that it doesn’t matter where you come from. With determination and hard work you can achieve great things.

You participated in NBA’s El Otro Sueno initiative in Chile, alongside Argentinian center Fabricio Oberto, who played for the Spurs. What was that initiative about and what did it mean to you to reach out to Chilean kids?

Wow, that was a long time ago! It was a very nice experience. We were helping to renew the gym in which I actually played in many time as a kid. Spending time with the little kids was wonderful.

Ziomara Morrison and Fabricio Oberto participated in NBA’s El Otro Sueno in 2015 in Santiago, Chile
facebook.com/morrisonziomara

Now I am going to ask you about some stamps in your passport and would like you to tell me about your experiences there and the state of the leagues, ok? Let’s start with the country closest to your homeland, Brazil.

Brazil was a nice experience, a totally different reality when it comes to conditions and culture compared to Europe.

What it was like to play in Spain? Was it easier to adapt because of the lack of the language barrier?

The league was competitive and the people were extremely welcoming. The fans there are very passionate and we were very close to winning the championship.

Belgium, France and Italy. Any stories there?

Well, Italy was my first stop when I was a teen; I arrived there when I was only 15. The country will always have a special place in my heart. In Belgium, we won everything in the league and I had one of the best team experiences of my career there. And playing in France was tough, I came there during COVID and it wasn’t easy. I guess it wasn’t easy for everyone in the world.

You played in Poland twice, Hungary, Turkey, now you’re at Olympiakos in Greece. Which country has the toughest competition and which one is the nicest to live in?

From the countries you mention, I guess at that time I was there Turkey had the toughest competition. As for the best place to live in, I really enjoyed Poland. I didn’t mind the cold.

Finally, San Antonio and the WNBA. Can you tell us about your experiences in the W? Is there a chance we’ll see you there again?

Well, that was also many years ago. I had a very nice experience. It was amazing to play in all those arenas, and get to know many wonderful players. As for playing there again, who know what the future holds?


A special thank you to Maxym Lejeune of LBM Management for arranging the interview.