With the tenth pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, the New York Liberty selected University of Connecticut’s two-time national champion Kia Nurse. Since transitioning to the WNBA, the rookie guard and Ontario native hasn’t wasted time putting her talents to work. The instant fan favorite is a consistent threat anywhere on the perimeter and a lockup defender. But who is she off the court? This season, Nurse invites you to get to know the person behind the player setting records on the court as she settles into rookie life. Follow along!
Not goodbye, but see you later
“It’s not goodbye forever, but see you later.” I have a feeling that quote is from the only movie on the planet that has forced me to shed a tear, “John Q”. That film’s final 45 seconds always gets to me. Anyway, it may not have been that exact quote word for word, but you get my point. As I boarded the plane earlier, I said “see you later” to New York City.
Being in New York these last few months has been life changing. If you recall, I moved into my first apartment, saw Wicked on Broadway, made new friends, and got to know new teammates, coaches, and support staff. Then there was playing in Madison Square Garden, learning how to adjust to newfound freedom, meeting fans, and creating memories. My rookie campaign was filled with so many ups and downs. There were days when I looked in the mirror and was proud of who I was becoming. Then there were days when I felt homesick. Or days that I spent overthinking about my inconsistency. But, everyday was a chance to grow into a better person and player. A lot of that growth had to do with the 11 women I went to war with on a nightly basis.
Let me tell you about my teammates. I know in previous diary entries I’ve mentioned little tid bits of information on them, but these women are incredible. If you want your children to learn perseverance, commitment, tenacity, poise, confidence, and humor leave them in our locker room for a day. Our team was filled with experience. It was almost an overwhelming amount of knowledge to soak in. However, just because you have experience doesn’t mean you are obligated to share. That’s not the case on our team. My teammates would go out of the way to pull me aside in practice to help make corrections, take me to dinners, or send a text just checking in. I am leaving today a better player and person because of them. It is crazy to think about, but no ONE team will ever be the same. So, thank you Piph, Tina, Riss, Z, Sug, Bria, Kia, Kiah, Bec, Amanda, and Boyd a million times over to the squad for taking care of their rook. P.S your heat packs will not be the same when they aren’t made with the love I made them with!
I obviously have to tell you about the coaches, too. Katie, Barb, Herb, and T-Spoon have an abundance of energy (and that’s coming from me). Every day they showed up to the gym ready to go with a passion for the game and a desire to make us better players and people. I can not say thank you enough for taking a chance on me. I’m glad I could make them laugh as much as I did (apparently I do funny things without noticing). I can honestly say I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the New York Liberty organization. This year was difficult to say the least. We dealt with adversity as a team and as individuals, but I live a dream every single day. I fell in love with a sport when I was four years old and today I am being paid to do what I love…to me that is crazy. Yes, I hope we are able to grow as both a team and individuals during our off season, so we can come out with a stronger record for ourselves and the fans.
The Liberty Loyals
Fans, fans, fans. Thank you. Thank you for your constant support, for your warm welcome, encouragement, and loyalty. We will be back, so I would stick around to see what happens next. We will need all that energy next year to make playing in New York one of the toughest battles in the WNBA. I encourage each of you — fans of the Liberty, the league, or just basketball in general — to grab a friend and bring them to a game. Go catch a playoff game, catch us in action next season, catch a college game…play in a pick up game. This game is so much more than wins and losses. This is a chance for people to come together. It’s a chance for the youth to learn transferable life skills, and we need your help growing the game.
Speaking of what’s next… ball is life. I’m currently taking a quick vacation before I head into training camp with Team Canada at the end of the month then a quick trip to Spain for the World Championships. After that I’ll have another short vacation and pack my bags for Canberra Australia. So many new adventures coming my way and I couldn’t be more excited.
To all my young ones reading this… play. It doesn’t have to be basketball. It doesn’t have to be in a league…just play. Sports give you the opportunity to make friends, find your confidence, and develop life skills that you’ll use forever. Trust me when I say you’re going to fail, life’s going to knock you down…even when people on the outside think you’ve got it all. I’m telling you it’s okay and every athlete, every successful person you see have all gone through it before. I have a hope that even if just one little girl saw me play in my seafoam uniform and said I want to play, then I will feel like I really did my job.
New York…it’s been real. The rookie campaign is completed, so your rook is signing off.