Imani McGee-Stafford, Professional Basketball Player and Poet
Today’s spotlight, Imani McGee-Stattford, can only be described as straight up boss. At only 24 years old, Imani is a basketball player for the WNBA and is an accomplished poet and author. She speaks with us about being both an athlete and a creative, and how her passions helped her heal and connect with others. Continue reading below to learn.
Imani, you’re a woman of many talents. You play for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and you’re an accomplished author of “Notes In The Key of Heartbreak”. What were the catalysts along your journey that inspired you to become an athlete and a creative?
Dallas Wings now :) I was an athlete almost by nature. My entire family plays basketball. My father played overseas and in college. My mom is in the Hall of Fame and my brother is a 2x NBA champion. However, I was late to the game. So before I played basketball I sang, wrote songs, and was into computers. I discovered poetry in seventh grade and writing became my voice and a means to communicate.
As an athlete, how do you use your platform to speak about issues that are important to you?
I try to use my platform to speak about issues that impacted my life. Growing up in an abusive household and suffering from depression growing up, I felt very much alone.
As a creative, how does using poetry help you connect with others?
I love poetry. I consider it air. I appreciate spaces where people can connect on sheer human emotion and experience despite the many things that separate them.
Mental Health Awareness Month just ended a couple of weeks ago. How can black people and allies to POC amplify and destigmatize mental health amongst the black community?
I think its important to share our stories. We often think we're the only ones dealing with mental health issues or even considering it because of the stigmas in our communities. Once we acknowledge that mental health is as important as physical health we can truly help those in need.
What advice do you have for our readers who want to pursue a career outside of their industry? How can they leverage their existing skills to apply them to their side hustles?
I am a true believer of passion projects. When you do things from a genuine place opportunities align themselves.
What can we expect from you in the next five years? Another book in the works?
Hopefully a WNBA championship, a thriving nonprofit, & another book of poetry.