WNBA Star Swin Cash Talks Championships, Standing Tall and Hair Essentials
by Lois Elfman
WNBA veteran Swin Cash has nothing left to prove on the basketball court, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t take great pride in extending her resume. One of only five players to win WNBA Championships with two different teams (Detroit Shock 2003 and ’06, Seattle Storm 2010), Cash now has the chance to become the first player to win titles with three teams. In her second year with the Chicago Sky, the team is headed to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and has clinched first place in the Eastern Conference.
Off the court, Cash, 33, continues to expand her horizons—adding author to her list of accomplishments. Her book published earlier this year, Humble Journey: More Precious Than Gold, chronicles her road to the 2012 Olympics in London where she won her second gold medal (first came in Athens in 2004), which followed the devastating disappointment of not making the Olympic team in 2008.
During the WNBA’s off-season (October to May) Cash has been a television commentator for college basketball. She also started her own business, Swin Cash Enterprises, as well as her own nonprofit organization, Cash for Kids, which has the mission to “motivate, educate and elevate kids” with a focus on fitness.
Off the court, she’s known for her sense of style and glamour. Although she was a bit surprised when DivineCaroline asked her to reveal hair secrets, she was totally forthcoming.
DivineCaroline: How does it feel to have secured the very first playoff berth in Chicago Sky history?
Swin Cash: It feels really good, not only for me but for the organization, for the city of Chicago and for players like Syl (Sylvia Fowles) and Piph (Epiphanny Prince) that have been around here for a long time. To see the look on their faces when we secured the spot was pretty awesome.
DC: You’re in your 12th WNBA season. How do you see your role as a leader in terms of helping your team achieve its goals?
SC: I’ve been a captain on other teams, but this is the youngest and most inexperienced that I’ve ever been on. What I appreciate is that they hear me and they take in the information that I’m trying to give them, leadership I’m trying to show and they respond to it. I wouldn’t be able to have much success with this team if the players didn’t buy into what I’ve done and what I’m saying out on the floor and showing the example from practice to how we carry ourselves, the things that we do as an organization.
DC: How has having played and excelled in a team sport shaped you as a person?
SC: It’s taught me so many life skills—how to deal with people and personalities. How to help people with different backgrounds and experiences come together for a common goal. Basketball has prepared me for what I’m going to face in the business world.
DC: Is there some piece of information you can share with women about the team dynamic that they’d do well knowing?
SC: Playing a team sport helps you realize that you’re only going to be as great as the person that’s next to you. Working for a common goal—not only for yourself to achieve your individual goals—but helping your teammates be better. Helping your teammates reach their goals is so fulfilling.
DC: Women’s professional basketball players don’t make a huge amount of money, but they do have a platform to make significant impacts on people’s lives. How do you feel you’ve done that?
SC: I feel like after I finish playing this game I hope people look back at my legacy and say, “She wasn’t only a champion and winner, she was committed in her service to others.” My community service kind of parallels what I’ve done as far as winning championships. Basketball has given me the platform, but I feel I’ve used it for more than just sports.
DC: Let’s talk girlie things now. How would you describe your sense of style?
SC: Fierce and fun. I’m comfortable in my own skin, so I like to try different things. It’s fun to wear different colors. It’s fun to go from having on my Nike sweats and being in my tomboy mode with high top sneakers and turning it around and putting on a fly dress and some pumps and going to a dinner at the White House. Those are the experiences that I’ve had. With fashion it’s really about expression.
DC: Do you follow trends or designers?
SC: Fashion can be affordable, it can be fun. It doesn’t always have to be expensive, although I own some expensive things. I try to be unique to myself.
DC: You’re 6-foot-1½. What size shoe do you wear and where do you find chic and stylish shoes?
SC: My high heels are probably size 12. Different shoes can be 11. I have big feet. Nordstrom is my best friend because they carry bigger sizes especially in designer shoes for women. Also, I like to get on the Internet.
DC: How do heels make you feel?
SC: Heels helps not only your posture, but it makes people strong and bold. I love wearing heels. That’s because when I tried to slouch when I was younger, my mom, my grandma and my aunt would never let me do it. I always say, “Be bold, be you.” I’m tall.
DC: Since your workouts and games are so intense, what is your beauty regimen that keeps you looking off court fresh?
SC: I have to keep my skin moisturized. I love basic things you can get over the counter. Gold Bond shea butter lotion is amazing for my skin. Obviously, I like to get facials because we’re constantly sweating and our pores are affected.
DC: Please talk about your hair, which always looks amazing off the court. Do you wear a weave, clip in extensions? Do you forgo those things during WNBA season?
SC: I’ve tried wearing just my hair, but my hair cannot take the blow dryer and curling iron on it every day. So wearing a weave during the season is a must for me. I love extensions. I love playing with different colors. Right now, I’m trying to figure out what color I’m going to add to my hair for highlights for the playoffs. I’m a weave-ologist—from the sew-in to the different invisible clips, I do it all. It’s less maintenance if you have a weave.
DC: What has been the reaction to your appearance in ESPN The Magazine Body Issue?
SC: Everybody has been very positive about it. In my 20s, I couldn’t have done it. It took a lot to get me to do it now in my 30s. It really is one of those things where I’ve come into my own. I’m my own woman. I’m confident in who I am. My record and what I’ve done on the court speaks for itself, so this wasn’t something that was going to define my career. This was something about me being confident in the woman that I am.
DC: You’re ferocious when you play basketball, but you’re a girlie girl most of the time in everyday life. How do you explain that to people who don’t understand you can be both?
SC: They need to open their minds. The perception you may have of an athlete cannot be defined by the style of play or how they are on the court. You can be aggressive, you can be competitive and you still can be a woman.
DC: What has been the reaction to your book, Humble Journey: More Precious Than Gold?
SC: Hopefully, this fall I’ll be getting on the college circuit and talking to some young athletes and women’s groups and things of that sort. I’m excited to spread my wings in the off-season with TV and on the speaking circuit. Have some fun and interact with people that I probably would have never gotten an opportunity to meet if it wasn’t for sharing my story and uplifting people through my book.
DC: Where do you see your life going when your playing days are done?
SC: This sky is not the limit, it’s really just the view for me. God has blessed me with an opportunity to play this game. I think the next phase is really to branch out into other opportunities as far as television and also empowering women, not only here in our country, but around the globe. Through my story and my experiences and through my work with nonprofits, I think that it’s going to be an amazing next chapter for me.