LOS ANGELES — Reshanda Gray is all in when it comes to serving her mentees in Southern California and all across America. She has a nonprofit called No Gray Areas. She’s a WNBA veteran guiding teenage girls with life lessons and basketball skills.
“To help the next girl who grew up in the same position I grew up in,” Gray said.
She hopes to inspire the next generation the way the late great Kobe Bryant did with her. Gray met the Lakers legend through the After-School All-Stars LA program when she was 12-years-old. At the time, she wasn’t sure if she would ever be good at basketball until she talked with Kobe.
“(He said), 'In order to be the best, you have to envision yourself doing it.’ As the years went on and I got older, I started to take basketball a little more serious,” Gray explained.
“I started to understand what he meant.”
She became a star through high school, onto college in California, then onto the WNBA, overcoming the challenges of being overlooked by universities simply because she went to a public school in South L.A.
Over a decade later, at the WNBA All-Star Game, Gray finally got the opportunity to show her appreciation to Kobe.
“Thank you for just showing us that even though you are on this level, you’re never too big to give back to the people,” she said.
“'I’m a walking representation of that. You motivated me.' And I could just tell by the look on his face that he was just like ‘wow, it really paid off.’ Then I saw his daughter Gigi, and I said get up take a picture with us. I also told her, 'you got a great dad.'”
Last year, her journey came full circle when she joined the Sparks and put on the purple and gold, just like Kobe. Now she’s trying to do what for these young ladies what Kobe did for her
“If I can do it, you can do it too,” Gray added.
She’s passing on words of wisdom and mamba inspiration to a new generation.