Draft Diary: A'ja Wilson talks WNBA meetings and giving back

A'JA WILSON (For The Associated Press)
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Whew, this was one of the busiest days I've had in my life.

I've been in New York for a couple days now and we had meetings Wednesday. It's been great spending some time with my fellow draftees. While we may have been rivals in college, it's all put aside now. We've been eating all our meals together.

We also spent the day at a series of meetings at the WNBA offices. There was rookie orientation, a discussion with the players' association, and a panel with a few WNBA veterans that included Swin Cash.

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She said something that will definitely stick with me. We should kick down the doors in front of us and always look for the next door.

I burst through the collegiate door to get to the next door.

They talked a lot about how there is more to life than just playing basketball. That really hit home for me. During my time in South Carolina, I got really close to these two young kids, Maryiah and Brayden, who have cancer. The two of them have made such an impact in my life that they probably will never know. I'm their No. 1 fan.

So I talked to my mom and wanted to help them in a way that also said thank you to the Columbia, South Carolina, community that has given me so much. I decided to start my pro career off by partnering with YouCaring to host a fundraising campaign for Palmetto Children's Hospital. Our goal is to help raise funds for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and what better time to do it than now - so fans can join me in celebrating my dream of being drafted into the WNBA by helping kids get healthy and dream big, too.

We did have a little bit of time to explore the league offices. And you never what or who you might see there. Sure enough an All-Star photo of my coach Dawn Staley was prominently displayed as well as a cool picture of Sylvia Fowles. She's one of the people I idolized growing up. It was also neat to meet WNBA President Lisa Borders. We had an instant connection since we are Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters. She was very personable and knowledgeable.

Obviously the draft is Thursday night and I'm super-duper nervous and super-duper excited. I plan on getting a good night's sleep so that I'm well rested and not falling asleep at the draft table.

It hasn't really sunk in yet how much my life will change, but sooner or later everything that is happening will hit me. I'm definitely ready for whatever happens Thursday night.


South Carolina star A'ja Wilson is chronicling her path from the end of her college career to the start of her WNBA career, including getting drafted.

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