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"Everybody has to have a role" - 2-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby talks about coming off the bench, leadership and India 

Dearica Hamby
Dearica Hamby
Raunak Jaiswal

Drafted into the WNBA in 2015 by the then-San Antonio Stars, Dearica Hamby has carved a niche for herself as an impact player off the bench. She's been a starter with the Stars, but has found more success as the sixth woman following the team's relocation and subsequent rebranding into the Las Vegas Aces.

Hamby played a crucial role in leading the Aces into the postseason in 2019 and subsequently the finals in 2020. She was awarded back-to-back WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year honors for her efforts as well.

Dearica Hamby on role playing and buying into your franchise's needs

Dearica Hamby has been a starter with the struggling Stars and has played on the second unit with the ascending Aces. So what role does she prefer, you ask? Well, anything that helps her team win the championship.

"I just want us to win a championship, so I'll do whatever that takes," Hamby said. "In different games...it looks different. It could be scoring, it could be defending."
Dearica Hamby receives the Sixth Woman of the Year trophy from Head of League Operations Bethany Donaphin
Dearica Hamby receives the Sixth Woman of the Year trophy from Head of League Operations Bethany Donaphin

Dearica Hamby averaged 13 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting at 53.9% from the field in the 2020 season. Several analysts and fans have suggested that she could easily be among the starters for the Las Vegas Aces. But Hamby isn't fretting too much over the proposition.

"Would I like to start? Maybe," Hamby continued. "But for this team and being a part of the original San Antonio group, it means a lot to me. To see this team grow and have the kind of success we've had in each year – to get better and better – it means a lot to me. People get more frustrated than I do about my role. Just the kind of person I am and player, it shows through that."

Dearica Hamby also took a moment to explain just how critical it is for both the franchise and the player that the latter buys into what he or she is being asked to do.

"If you want to buy into the franchise and be bigger than yourself, be a part of the bigger picture, everybody has to have a role," Hamby explained. "And you've got to have players that are willing to sacrifice like myself to contribute to the greater good, which is, for us, a championship. You could go to another team, but you might be on a worse team. That's why it's so special to me because we were that bad team and I was a starter."

Dearica Hamby finally delved into the intangibles that come into play for franchises and players. Hamby outlined two things that are needed for success at the professional level. She said:

"Leadership is one of the things that you have to have. In the past that's kinda what we struggled with. And I think just chemistry. Your teammates have to really enjoy each other. Like 'I'm gonna set this screen because I care about you.' I think those are the two most important things."

Dearica Hamby on being a role model and influencing social change

Dearica Hamby is a trailblazer for youngsters across the world. She's overcome several obstacles to realize her dream of playing in the WNBA. On Saturday, April 10th, Hamby participated in a digital interactive session with kids from India as a part of the Jr. NBA program. She noted what the experience was like.

"I have a daughter so I'm passionate about kids," Hamby declared. "Nowadays it's so awesome to connect with people around the world through a computer screen. And I know in India maybe basketball doesn't have the same resources that America has. So being able to be a role model and show them that it's possible to be connected with this side of the world meant a lot to me."
Dearica Hamby with her daughter Amaya
Dearica Hamby with her daughter Amaya

The aforementioned interaction is just one of the many ways in which Dearica Hamby and the WNBA have been able to influence minds. The other? Speaking up for social justice. WNBA players have pretty much been the pacesetters when it comes to speaking about equality and change. Hamby noted her opinion on the matter as well.

"I think the WNBA has done a great job of being at the forefront of social injustices and social issues," Hamby opined. "I think we touch on everything. When it happens, we're usually the first ones to speak up or be proactive about it or to get online. WNBA has done a good job of backing us in that. [WNBPA President] Nneka and [WNBPA Vice President] Chiney Ogwumike do a great job of keeping us all involved, showing us things that we can do, sending us things and resources to stay involved."

Dearica Hamby only recently signed a two-year extension with the Las Vegas Aces. She'll be hoping to lead the Aces to the WNBA Championship after the franchise stumbled at the ultimate hurdle last time around.

We thank Dearica Hamby for her time and wish her all the best for her upcoming campaign with the Aces.


Edited by Raunak Jaiswal

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