In this episode of the Good Tidings podcast, host Larry Harper, Founder of the Good Tidings Foundation, sits down with friend and philanthropic co-collaborator Jennifer Azzi. Jennifer is a basketball Hall of Famer, an Olympic gold medalist, and an NCAA champion, among many other things.
Today, in January 2021, Larry sits down with Jennifer at the Mill Valley, CA home she shares with her wife, Blaire, and two children for aconversation on the role of sport and service in Jennifer’s life.
Starting back where everything began for her, Jennifer shares about her idyllic Tennessee childhood and the way in which sports shaped her upbringing and community. Basketball, in particular, was popular among the girls in her town, and there were plenty of opportunities for girls to play. As Jennifer progressed in the sport, her training was complemented by experience in other sports. She was a unique talent, and after high school joined the team at Stanford University. Through her time playing for Stanford (and winning a championship with the team) and winning a gold medal in the ‘96 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Jennifer threw herself into not just excellent playing, but the opportunity to impact the broader world of women’s sports. She went on to establish a league of her own before entering the WNBA, but after all her experience in basketball, she says that her most fulfilling accomplishment is the connections she’s made and the ways in which she has been able to bring people together.
And indeed, Jennifer has capitalized on her influence to bring much social change, believing that sports franchises, individual athletes, and even universities have a responsibility to give back to the community. As a student, athlete, member of larger franchises, and now leader at the University of San Francisco, Jennifer has long felt the urge to give of herself, and through investment in the hope-giving STEAM program at Rosa Parks Elementary School, to efforts to uplift Marin City and provide it with a gym as a community hub, to running a basketball clinic at the White House, Jennifer has taken countless steps to foster justice and equity in her community, encourage girls and women to dream about options open to them, and intentionally brought fellow collaborators alongside her in the process. As the conversation wraps up, Jennifer shares about the pavilion and Hall of Fame projects she has in the works, and talks with Larry about the progress made by activism of the past (crazy!) year.
To listen to the podcast please visit https://goodtidings.org/good-tidings-podcast-episode-6-jennifer-azzi/.