Pamela McGee has an incredible story as a pioneer professional women’s basketball player. She was born and raised in Flint, Michigan.
Pam attended Flint Southwestern Academy before transferring to Flint Northern High School. There, she was an Academic All-American. She also won two back-to-back state championships in women’s basketball and women’s track. Pam and twin sister Paula were among the first women to receive scholarships when women’s basketball became NCAA-sponsored in 1981. Pam was the more physical player of the two.
For the two young Black women, basketball was a ticket to college. Their father died in a boating accident at 35 years old. Their mother was a factory worker who pushed her daughters to continue to develop their expertise in the sport.
Pam would take those skills and dominate at the University of Southern California. She also competed and won gold in the 1986 Olympics before embarking on an international pro career. She went on to be the No. 2 draft pick in the inaugural season of the WNBA at 34 years old. Now she’s making history again.
In 2008, Pam’s son, JaVale McGee, was drafted by the Washington Wizards and now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2016, her daughter, Imani McGee-Stafford, was drafted by the Chicago Sky. This made Pam the first WNBA player to ever have children drafted by both the NBA and the WNBA. It is a stunning legacy for someone who paved the way for those who came after her.
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