A letter to basketball, by WNBA No. 10 draft pick Imani Boyette

In honor of National Poetry Month, espnW is running a weekly poem on influential female athletes and women in sports.

Dear Basketball,

I didn't realize how much I'd really miss you

Until the buzzer sounded

In my last Longhorns basketball game

The crowd erupted

But this time, it wasn't for us

I cried my way through the eyes of Texas

And just like that

We were done

In college, we started to get serious

When they started putting expectations on our relationship

It scared me


that time I tried to quit sophomore year because my depression was

trying to take me out

And I blamed you

I didn't think of myself as worthy of all that you came with

The after game press conferences

The constant quest to be better

The suicides, the 300s, the gassers

I didn't think I could do it

I never thought we'd get here

In the beginning, I downplayed our relationship

Told them I was just using you

To get out of California

To go to college

To get a degree,

And still you were there

Remembering who we used to be

Basketball, I never had a choice in this relationship

But you did

There were taller girls,

Quicker ones

Harder-working ones

More skilled ones

But you kept rewarding me

I was born to hall of famer Pamela McGee

My aunt, Trisha played in the WNBA and is now a college coach

My mom's twin, Paula McGee won two NCAA titles

My dad played in Beijing

My brother is Mavericks center JaVale McGee

We were just the inevitable


This is the first time I've had a choice

And here I am choosing you

I'm no longer just some NBA player's kid sister

I love you,

There I said it

I hiccup before games

Because you still make me nervous

Almost a decade in

I say the same prayer at the jump ball

And when ESPN shows the 2016 WNBA Draft my name will flicker across the screen

I just want to put on that jersey again

Say that same prayer when the ball tips on May 14

when I'm wearing my new Chicago Sky jersey

So basketball,

I promise to love you better

You've given me a platform

Reminded me that I'm stronger than I think

Here's to our budding relationship basketball



Imani Boyette was a center at the University of Texas. She was the WNBA's tenth overall pick Thursday night and will join the Chicago Sky. For more information on Boyette click here.