For years, since Jordan Evans was in the first-grade —since she learned how to play basketball at age six— the game has taught her lessons that she has been able to apply to her life off the court.
Evans followed in her parent’s footsteps. Both of her parents played basketball, so naturally, she picked up a ball as well. “I grew up around the game. I was always in the gym,” said Evans.
Yes, her parents inspired her. But she was also motivated by Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie. Says Evans, “I liked how hard they played.”
As we stood on the sideline of the hardwood, Evans reflected. “Players don’t go hard anymore, the game has softened a lot since I played,” said Evans.
Evans hooped at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. While she walked on campus as a baller, she walked away with much more. She got pregnant in her junior year of college and played an entire season while pregnant. She took two full years away from the game, but when you love something it always finds its way back to you.
She remembers what it was like not playing the game she loves, yet she also remembers what it taught her. “Being a mother showed me that no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome any obstacle,” said Evans.
She is standing on the court, watching as players stagger off the floor moments after a tough practice.
Evans knows how important it is for young girls to see women in the locker room and on the bench teaching the game.
Says Evans, “It’s very important for girls to see women out there paying it forward, it shows them that this is something that they can do as well.”
Playing basketball built her mental toughness. There were moments in which she felt like giving up, however, the game taught her to push through adversity.
There’s something therapeutic about being in the gym. The soundtrack of basketball – the ball swishing through the net – sneakers squeaking on the hardwood, a song that all hoopers love to listen to.
“Whenever I was going through something, basketball always helped. All of my problems went away when I stepped on the court,” said Evans.
She was six years old when she first picked up a basketball, now an assistant coach at Sand Springs High School, she’s using coaching as a way to give back what the game has given to her.