New York Liberty forward Reshanda Gray checks in from Italy, where she is playing pro basketball this winter in a league that she loves. She talks about life there, her organization, and what she’s doing for her non-profit foundation from across the waters.
Hey what is going on, my beautiful people?! It’s your girl Reshanda Gray, aka Too Tall, for those who know the real me!
I wanted to tap in to let you all know how my life is going overseas. I am currently playing in Campobasso Italy, which is a small town in the southern part of the country. This is my sixth year playing overseas and my third year playing in Italy. I’ve also played two years in South Korea and one in Hungary. I must say, outside of playing in Korea, Italy is my favorite country to play in, for so many reasons.
I love everything about this place, beginning with the tax-free shopping (LOL). The people are so nice and welcoming, the scenery is incredible and the food is delicious. I am a fatty, I love good food, and I love trying new things. Italian food is one of my favorites, and pasta is definitely my go-to food. Since I have been here I have been taking away big tips toward becoming a better chef. My favorite pasta to make is pesto pasta with penne noodles. Then there is the language. I have a great understanding of words now, but speaking in sentences in conversation is still in the works. But I must say, I have not heard a more romantic language!
Off to basketball, which is the main reason why I am here, where my club (team) name is La Moslisana Magnolia Campobasso. I would like to give a shoutout to our organization, because it is run entirely by women! Our president and vice president being are women, as well as those in other key roles, so I knew this would be a good fit for me, because I am all about women’s empowerment. I wanted to learn more about this club and when I did, I just knew it was a perfect fit for me because of who I am and what I stand for.
One of the many things I love about this club is the fact that they bring awareness to issues, just like I do. This year my club dedicated this season to violence against women. So far in 2021 in Italy, there have been 247 murders – 103 of them being women. Of those, 87 were killed in family situations and 60 were found dead at the hands of their partners. My club challenged all males to take a step in the right direction to help against violence against women with a #SAYNO pledge. Not only that, we as female players wanted to make a statement, so on our jerseys we have written powerful words from feminists. Our club created a big mural with our “Say No” pledge, and ask all of our opponents to sign the wall in support. What they are doing here is so amazing, and I am proud to be a part of it.
My team is new to the A1, or top series league. The competition is really great here. We are currently 5-3, although I really feel like we should be 7- 1 because we are so much better, but everybody can use some work. My team is very young, but fun and welling to work. That is one thing I love about them is that they are easy to lead, so it makes my job so much easier, because I talk about being a better leader everyday. For the most part I have been averaging a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but there is still so much work I can do.
Most Americans take this time overseas to craft their game. For me being a leader is always first, because not many are blessed with that ability to do so. My second goal I want to work on is extending my range. So far it’s been going well, and I must say that this is building my confidence, which is good. I take one to two 3’s a game shooting at 38 percent, while shooting 67 percent from two-point range. For the month of October I was honored to have received “Most Valuable Player” award for the league, averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 64 percent from the floor. Glory be to God.
When I am not playing basketball, I am putting my focus into my dreams, because I love sleeping. Or, I am working on my baby: my foundation called “No Gray Areas.” NGA was founded with the mission to provide love, support, and opportunities to empower young girls and women in need academically, socially, and athletically worldwide, from my home base in California. When I originally came up with the idea for the organization, I thought about my upbringing and how a non-profit played a big part in who I am today. Not to mention growing up as a young girl, I strongly believed I did not have a great female role model to look up to, nor did I have the support system as a young woman growing up. So I wanted to create a sisterhood a safe place for young girls and women to come together and empower each other.
I am big on community service and giving back to my community. I am currently working on my third annual “Drive To The Basket” event. We wanted to do something bigger and better this year, so we made a plead to adopt 10 families this holiday season to help them get in the spirit! That is the first part of the event, and the second part is our annual toy drive Dec. 19. Please follow “ NGA.Cares” on Instagram for more information on the things we are doing in the community. I would love it if you all can like, share, repost, or even donate, as anything is appreciated. Our goal is to top what we did last year. I strongly believe my community made me who I am today, so it’s only right that I give back.
Thank you all for shining a light on those whose light might be a little dimmed!
I want to take a quick second to give a huge shoutout to Hoopism, AKA Sue Favor. She was for real shooting with me in the gym! On a serious note, Sue showed me love before I even knew who I was becoming.
Thank you all for reading! Know that you all are truly appreciated. I am because you are. Until next time. Peace and blessings!!!