YOUNG BLACK ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE

THE SPRING FORWARD ISSUE

FROM BALLER
TO BAWSE

BY NAILAH HERBERT

Rushia Brown has done some monumental things throughout her basketball career. However, what has been just as impressive is her post-career and how she continues to serve, uplift, and advance the game of women’s basketball.

 

Brown, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, didn’t start playing basketball until her sophomore year at Summerville High School. The game came naturally to her as it only took her two years to become one of the most sought-after recruits in the state of South Carolina. Brown received scholarship offers from colleges all across the country but ultimately decided to stay close to home and attend Furman University. Brown spoke on what basketball meant to her early on, “Basketball came as a savior—something positive to do as opposed to getting in trouble. As I started playing, I fell in love with the process. The harder I worked, the better the results I got which made me want to work even harder. It was a great opportunity to play a sport, be a part of a team, and give myself a chance to go to college where I needed a scholarship.”

 

Brown had a storied career at Furman University from 1989-1994, leading to the retiring of her #34 jersey. Following her college career, she went overseas and played professionally for three years. In 1997, Brown staked the claim as a pioneer of women’s basketball by playing in the WNBA in its inaugural season. She played for the Cleveland Rockers for six seasons (1997-2002) and played her final season (2003) for the Charlotte Sting. Brown played for ten years professionally, overseas in five different countries; Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Korea, and spent seven years playing in the WNBA.

 

After concluding her playing career, Brown continued to leave her imprint on the game. Brown recognized the gap of women retiring from a game they played their whole life and successfully transitioning to the next phase of life. She helped bridge that gap by founding the Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae (WPBA) to help serve the women who have retired after playing professionally in the WNBA or Europe. Brown explained what inspired her to create the WPBA, “I started the Women's Professional Basketball Alumnae (WPBA) because there was nothing in place after WNBA players retired. Having started the WPBA gave me a chance to serve the WNBA players after they retired.”

 

Upon retiring, she also held various positions behind the scenes dealing with the business and branding of players and organizations. In 2018, she worked with the Las Vegas Aces creating player programs and was the franchise development manager. Her role was to teach the players to help leverage their brand off the court. In 2020, she was hired to the front office of the Los Angeles Sparks, where she serves as the Director of Community Relations and Youth Sports, a position that she currently holds.

Brown’s next endeavor is something that takes a person of her experience to achieve. She will be serving as the General Manager and putting together a team to compete against the Japanese National Team to help them prepare for the upcoming Olympic games. She is in charge of scouting and putting together the team of about ten players, creating the budget, and getting the uniforms. Edniesha Curry, the only woman currently serving as a full-time assistant coach in NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball, will be the coach for this team. Curry also has experience playing professionally overseas and in the WNBA.

 

Brown was presented the opportunity to serve as the General Manager by one of her mentors, Charles Smith. Brown is known to have an eye for top-tier talent, and her experience made her the perfect person to lead this charge.

 

This opportunity, like many others throughout Brown’s career is amazing, but it’s centered around her uplifting others. She spoke on what this opportunity means to her, “I want to give young ladies the opportunity to advance their skill sets. They will get a chance to go over to play against one of the top teams that are prepping for the Olympics, and we are making sure that we are getting good video footage that will help promote their work and help them get contracts moving forward. My role is about serving, and it’ll be fun for them to go play, but at the same time, they are getting more footage that will help them get a better contract for next year. My whole evolution revolves around serving, I love the game, but everything I have done is about making sure that I am doing something that I love and serving other people. This is fun for me, but at the same time, I am seeing the doors that will open for the people I am working with.”

 

Brown continues to exemplify what leadership is, and as a pioneer of the game of women’s basketball, she continues to push the game to greater heights. She has done it with her game and through serving and uplifting the ladies coming after her. Brown’s legacy as a player and what she has done for the game after her playing career will last forever.

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