Skylar Diggins is no stranger to the spotlight. A four-time All American, Diggins led Notre Dame to three consecutive Final Four appearances and set new school records for career points and steals. (Read Skylar Diggins' Hard Work Led Her to the NCAA Championship Game.)
As the third overall pick in the WNBA Draft, Diggins is primed to be the new face of the league. She's already got 400,000+ Twitter followers and the support of Lil' Wayne, who regularly sits courtside at Fighting Irish games and has worn Diggins' jersey in his concerts.
As a rookie with the Tulsa Shock, Diggins has made an immediate impact in the WNBA. She's currently averaging a respectable 8 ppg and has been the driving force behind the Shock's initial steps of rebuilding into a WNBA powerhouse.
But fame has not gone to Diggins' head. Her focus is still squarely on the goals she shared with STACK at the 2009 Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards.
When we last saw her, Diggins' face shone brightest not when she strode across the stage to accept her 2009 Gatorade Athlete of the Year award, but when she disclosed her greatest accomplishment. “I have over a thousand hours [of community service] at the Martin Luther King Center,” Diggins said. “I always find community service opportunities."
Today, Diggins still feels the same urge to help out. She’s made it well known that she is taking her role as a WNBA Ambassador seriously. (Check out her advice to female athletes in Mean Girls: How To Combat Bullying.) “I feel so blessed to have accumulated the fan base that I have, “ Diggins said in an ESPNW.com interview. “With that comes responsibility, almost like a job, to do something with it for the greater good.”
Becoming the Best
Although Diggins has been an elite basketball player for most of her life, she's never taken her talent for granted. She always pushes herself to work harder, because there's always someone else waiting in the wing.
“Any of these girls could have won this award, and it would have been well-deserved,” Diggins said. “I want to continue to get better. What motivates me is wanting to do something that no one else has done. To continue to do what I need to do to help my team get to the top and be on my best game.”
Diggins' answer in 2009 could easily work in recent interviews on her WNBA expectations. “What people want to see is good basketball. So you can’t be so focused on peripheral events to where it takes away from your game, because ultimately that’s what’s going to sell. You have to have something to back up the talk with,” Diggins said in an interview with Todd Johnson of TheGrio.com. “We’re going to play some good basketball, and when you leave the game, you’re going to come back for another game.”
Time will tell whether Diggins achieves her goals in the WBNA. But if history tells us one thing, it's that she's primed for the challenge.