Pistons’ Jaden Ivey ‘wouldn’t be where he is today’ without WNBA players

Detroit Pistons guard Jaden Ivey is no stranger to women’s basketball.

He is the son of legendary baller Niele Ivey, who played five seasons in the WNBA. She was also an All-American at Notre Dame and is the head women’s basketball coach at Notre Dame.

Jaden grew up with legendary players and at the 2023 ESPNW Summit, he shared what he learned in that environment along with the players who inspired him. He mentioned that he wouldn’t be where he was without impactful women like Arike Ogunbowale, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Natalie Achonwa, Jewell Loyd, Jackie Young and his mother, among others.

He shared a unique memory of Ogunbowale.

I could just remember being in the gym with (Ogunbowale) and losing in 1-on-1 games. My mom can remember. I’d sit there at night crying ’cause I couldn’t even beat Arike. She would just bust my tail all the time. I really thank her for inspiring me and putting that strength in me.

Ogunbowale, who is now with the Dallas Wings, was a legend at Notre Dame where she helped lead the program to its second NCAA title in 2018. Ivey played against her in the gym during her time at Notre Dame.

Ivey also mentioned Diggins-Smith as an impactful woman in his life.

(Diggins-Smith) was an inspiration to a lot of kids in my area in South Bend. A lot of boys and girls looked up to her and I just look at Skylar as just an impactful woman to society because she inspired so many people from where I come from. She busted my tail, too.

Ivey was selected in the 2022 NBA draft as the fifth pick overall by the Pistons. He played college basketball at Purdue and grew up on a WNBA court before he even left the womb. His mother was pregnant with him during her rookie season in the WNBA and started 26 of 32 games.

When his mother then received a coaching position at Notre Dame, young Ivey followed his mother and watched her coach future WNBA legends. Ivey respects the women who helped paved the way for him to be in the NBA and he is forever grateful for the opportunities they have provided him.

More WNBA!

Washington Mystics' Natasha Cloud shares heartfelt message on Twitter

Latricia Trammell: Arike Ogunbowale is ready to lead the Dallas Wings

Twitter reacts to key rule changes ahead of the 2023 WNBA season

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire