WNBA: Cash’s Charitable and Championship Career Has Been One to Cherish
NEW YORK – Atlanta Dream forward Swin Cash is a humanitarian, who is a living bridge to the past, present and future of the WNBA.
Cash has seen everything during her 13-year career in a league that’s been in existence for 18 years since the WNBA launched play in the summer of 1997.
“One thing that has benefitted me the most has been the sustainability,” Cash said.
“For a long time, people didn’t think this league would be here. It seems like for years people were ‘like it’s going to fold this year or it’s going to fold next year’, but after 18 years, we’re still here.
"The sustainability early on, going through the great depression for us along with the recession of finances and knowing our league is still here is one of the things I can really look at and be proud of.”
Cash is carving a wonderful legacy that few athletes will be able to match. She’s made an impact everywhere she’s been with her time and generosity in Detroit, Seattle, Chicago and now, Atlanta.
An ambassador for the league, Cash has contributed to the growth of the WNBA by performing at a high level with regularity, sitting on the executive board and being part of the negotiations of the last two CBA’s, which has resulted in better benefits and quality of life for its players.
“It’s good to know that you’re leaving a legacy that other players can look at and understand how to grow it,” Cash said. “I always wanted to be a player that even when I left, that I left something for the players behind me.”
The 34-year-old Cash knows she’s in the twilight of a remarkable career, but she’s not ready to hang up the high-tops.
Cash did get emotional last week when she learned that her good friend Ruth Riley retired. They won a championship together with the Detroit Shock and were fierce rivals when Riley attended Notre Dame and Cash played for the University of Connecticut.
“She’s not only a teammate that I’ve been able to win with, but also a close friend,” Cash said of Riley. “I know what she’s meant to the league, not only on the court, but off the court.
"I’ve always been very clear about wanting to leave this game on my terms and feeling good about it. It felt good for her to take that next step and to know that in the next year or two that I am going to make that choice and decision.
"When will it be? I am not sure. I know the end is near for the direction I want to go into next.”
Cash plans to continue her philanthropic ways, pursue various business opportunities and move into broadcasting full-time.
She’s a three-time WNBA champion, five-time All-Star and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. Cash also helped the Huskies capture two NCAA championships in 2000 and 2002.
She is much more than a role model.
Consider her the Derek Jeter of the WNBA. That may be such a high standard, but Cash is worthy of the comparison. Regardless of profession, Cash is arguably one of the most influential and inspiring people in the nation.
“He played the game tremendously hard and did it with class,” Cash said of Jeter. “He carried himself a certain way and that’s what people will remember about him. The accolades will disappear, but how you treated people, conducted yourself and did business is what people will remember the most. I love Jeter so it’s an honor to be thought of in the same sentence as him.”
She is the Founder of Swin Cash Enterprises, LLC and the Founder of Cash Building Blocks, LP, an urban development company that renovates and offers affordable homes for low income families.
As if that weren’t enough, the McKeesport, Pennsylvania native, is the founder of Cash for Kids, a charity with the mission to “motivate, educate, & elevate” kids.
Through Cash for Kids, she has helped over a thousand children across the nation with a particular focus on fitness.
Cash spent time in Nigeria during the off-season working with the “Power Forward” program, which helped promote health education and build basketball programs at various schools.
“The trip was life-changing for me because I was at a point in my life where I was unsure on the basketball front,” Cash said. “But I was very sure what I was doing as far as helping people. I am at a stage right now where it’s less of me and more of God, really having peace right now to let him use me in ways through philanthropy, through business and just trying to help other people.”
One of six women on the planet to have won an NCAA championship, a WNBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal, Cash has done plenty of things that many people could only dream of like visiting the White House on at least three occasions and traveling the world.
Cash has made an impact in the lives of others, and written a book about her amazing journey, which included conquering cancer.
“It was a blessing that we caught it early,” Cash said. “I got a MRI on my back and ended up finding out that I had a tumor in my kidney. That started the whole process of being diagnosed.
"I get checked out once a year. Everything is good since the surgery in 2007. I don’t take anything for granted and I don’t take life for granted. I don’t take my family or people I love for granted. I try to savor every minute because we really don’t know when it’s going to end for us.”
Cash is currently looking to help the Atlanta Dream win a championship this season.
Even though the Dream’s franchise-record tying six-game winning streak ended with an 85-78 loss to New York Sunday afternoon, Cash was blessed to be able to play her first game in Madison Square Garden in three years.
Atlanta (9-4 overall) will look to begin a new streak when it visits San Antonio Thursday night at the AT&T Center (8:00 p.m.).
Cash is in a different role this year for the Dream even though she recently passed Chamique Holdsclaw for 14th place in scoring in WNBA history against Minnesota on June 13.
She’s providing all the intangibles every championship team needs to be successful. Cash has scored 4,729 points, 2,288 rebounds (11th all-time in league history) in that category and has made 1,295 free-throws (seventh all-time).
“I love this game,” Cash said. “As I move forward in my career over the next few years, staying close to the game will be very important for me especially on the NBA side.
"I love what I am doing as being an analyst. That’s really fun. What people should know is that I am a fighter.
" At the end of the day maybe I wasn’t the most talented, maybe I wasn’t the best shooter, maybe I wasn’t the best rebounder, but at the end of the day, I was a winner and that’s one thing nobody can take from me.”
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