Adia Barnes
Adia Barnes
Meet Adia

Questions and Answers with Adia Barnes

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in beautiful San Diego. I’m a California girl. I love the beach and the sun.

What was your childhood like?
I grew up in Pacific Beach just a few blocks away from the ocean in beautiful San Diego, California. I’m a California girl through and through which also means I was a tomboy – I loved to skateboard and ride my beach cruiser. But that doesn’t mean things were easy.

My parents divorced when I was very young and my sisters and I, who were constantly involved in sports, didn’t make it easy for our mother raising three girls on her own. In fact, I developed my work ethic from my mother who worked two jobs as I was growing up. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood the sacrifices my mother made—I’ve never wanted for anything, in large part because my mother made sure I had what I needed, but never in excess. I learned to appreciate the things I have, and to work for the things I want to accomplish.

When I was ten, my mother married the most wonderful man in the world, my stepfather, my dad. We were blessed that he came into our lives, and he provided me the stability and direction for me at a time I needed it most. Not only is my dad my number one fan, he is my backbone.

When did you first become interested in basketball?
When I was 8-years-old we lived across the street from a recreation center and I would watch NBA and NFL players working out. I would sit there for hours watching these amazing men, some who had played with my father in the NFL took a special interest in me. My favorite was Michael Cage, a former LA Clipper who spoiled me by taking me places to shoot around and he surprised me one day and took me to Sea World! I really looked up to him. Hanging around with him made me the coolest kid ever and because of his mentorship I practiced harder and gained more confidence. Shortly after that a YMCA boys’ league was formed and no one could tell me I wasn’t playing. I was the only girl in the entire league. It was fun, even at that age, to play against kids who where supposed to be stronger, quicker, better than I was. That YMCA league catapulted me into an arena where I was recruited for high school. In high school I was one of the tallest players so naturally I was the center. I made varsity as a freshman and this is where basketball began to shape my identity on and off of the court as a player and leader. During my last year in high school I was recruited by a lot of strong basketball programs but it was important to be close to my family. My sister went to USC and the rest of my family was in San Diego so that made Arizona not only a great basketball choice for me, but I was able to see my family more often and maintain that closeness

What did playing in Europe do for you?
Early in my career my purpose for going overseas was because I needed to hone my game. If I was going to play in the WNBA with people on top of their game, I had to make sure I was on top of mine. And because our season is shorter, and in the “off” season of basketball in the states, playing in Europe is how I was going to stay on top of my skill base.

Later in my career, honing my skills was complimented by being able to experience people and cultures that I may not have ever experienced. I embraced the different cultures; I respected the people and I tried to speak the languages of the country I played for even if I didn’t speak it well. I traveled all over the world for over a decade of my life and with those experiences I had time to reflect, focus, and work on the things that I needed to do for myself. And because of that, I am very different person.

What has basketball taught you?
It has taught me every valuable life lesson. I learned how to be a part of a team, something larger than myself and to put the community before the individual. I learned how to work under extreme pressure and bring my best self to the table. I learned mental toughness, communication, how to handle constructive criticism, and how to fall on my face and get back up. That’s really the key, the getting back up part. It taught me that being a role model is not a choice you make, but a responsibility you have; It is a privilege being a role model, an honor to know that the way I’ve lived my life speaks to someone else. I take a tremendous amount of pride in that. I knew I was going to touch lives it wasn’t until I began playing that I knew how.

What was it like to win a WNBA championship?
It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. To be part of a championship team is every athlete’s dream. There isn’t a better place to win a championship than Seattle. This city embraces women’s sports and loves their WNBA Seattle Storm. My teammates were the best people I have ever played with and they made me better—on and off the court.

What are the goals for your life now?
I’m entering into broadcasting for college women’s basketball and hopefully soon college men’s basketball, the NBA and NFL. I’d like to host a show similar to ‘NBA Inside Stuff,’ but include the WNBA. I want to leave my stamp somewhere, make a difference and change lives in multiple ways – my foundation is one way through mentorship, broadcasting is another. Young women have to be able to see themselves beyond the game, so I want my presence to mean something to them. I was able to watch Ann Myers-Drysdale, Robin Roberts and Doris Burke so I know it’s possible to see a semblance of myself off the court.

And your personal life?
I am a very private person so I like to keep my private life just that. But I just finished a 12-year playing career and this time is very important to me. I will share that last summer I got engaged and we are looking to get married next year in Italy.