It’s difficult to find anyone as accomplished and as authentic an embodiment of Philadelphia in the city’s basketball history as Dawn Staley.
She’s a Hall of Famer for good reason — many of them, actually. The three-time Olympic gold medalist and only person to ever win the Naismith Award as both a player and a coach recently talked with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Danny Pommells during Black History Month.
Now the head coach of the USA women’s national team and the South Carolina Gamecocks, Staley will always be fond of the place that molded her.
“It was the most competitive environment,” she said, “both in my house and in the recreation centers and in the playgrounds.”
Staley told Pommells that it’s meaningful for her to be a Black head coach, especially when she thinks about the the mentors who helped her ascend to the peak of the profession.
“When there are few of us at the very top, it is my pleasure and my duty to hold coaching and being Black and coaching at the highest level in high regard," she said.
“… Coach (John) Chaney, when I first got into coaching, he was open door. He is legendary. You go to his office on a Friday, he’s been down at the Reading Terminal, he’s got chicken from the Amish. … Coach (C. Vivian) Stringer, the same way. Just very, very giving. These are people who have ties to the Black community, to Black coaches. They’ve upheld it in a way that makes us so proud and gives us hope that, if given the opportunity, we can be like them.”
You can watch Pommells’ interview with Staley in the video above.