Originally published in SLAM 64

Her rookie season over, Miami Sol guard Iziane Castro Marques was back in her native Brazil, speaking to a crowd of young girls. In Miami she was a little-used reserve, averaging 3.5 points in 19 games. But in Brazil, she was still a star—she led the Paulista League in scoring at 23.3 ppg in 2001. Ronaldo numbers. So, with the WNBA season complete, she was passing on knowledge to a new class at her basketball camp.

Initially, the girls listened raptly as Iziane talked about teamwork, fundamentals and the importance of practice. After about 10 minutes though, she noticed they were growing restless. “OK, girls,” she said, wrapping it up. “Does anyone have any questions?”

“Yeah! How cool was Lisa Leslie’s dunk? Did you see it?” “Um…well…” “Did she go off one leg or two?” “Well, kids, what’s really important is that we won…” “Do you think she’ll do it again? When do we learn to dunk? Do those programs advertised in the back of SLAM really work?” “Uh, she missed every other shot she took that half…”

But by then, the girls were gone, practicing cuffing the ball, seeing how far they could stick their tongues out, searching throughout the gym for a trampoline. All, that is, except for one girl who stayed behind, still listening.

“Well,” Iziane said, crouching down, “was there something else you wanted to know?” “Yes,” the girl responded shyly. “Can you dunk?”

Russ Bengtson