Basketball Wiki
Lisa Leslie
Personal information
Born July 7, 1972 (1972-07-07) (age 49)
Gardena, California
Nationality American
Physical stats
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school Morningside
(Inglewood, California)
College USC (1990-1994)
NBA Draft 1997 / Allocated
Selected by the Los Angeles Sparks
Playing career 1997-2009
Position Center
Jersey no. 9
Career history
1997-2009 Los Angeles Sparks
Career highlights and awards
  • 2× WNBA champion (2001, 2002)
  • 2× WNBA Finals MVP (2001, 2002)
  • 3× WNBA MVP (2001, 2004, 2006)
  • 8× WNBA All-Star (1999–2003, 2005, 2006, 2009)
  • 8× All-WNBA First Team (1997, 2000–2004, 2006, 2008)
  • 4× All-WNBA Second Team (1998, 1999, 2005, 2009)
  • 2× WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (2004, 2008)
  • 2× All-Defensive First Team (2006, 2008)
  • 2× All-Defensive Second Team (2005, 2009)
  • WNBA Peak Performer (2004)
  • WNBA's Top 15 Players of All Time (2011)
  • WNBA Top 20@20 (2016)*


Lisa Deshaun Leslie-Lockwood (born July 7, 1972, in Gardena, California) is a former American professional women's basketball player in the WNBA. She is a three-time WNBA MVP and a four-time Olympic gold medal winner. The number seven pick in the 1997 inaugural WNBA draft, she followed a superb career at the University of Southern California with seven WNBA All-Star appearances and two WNBA championships over the course of eleven seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, before retiring in 2009.[1] Leslie, a 6'5" center, is the first player to dunk in a WNBA game. She was considered a pioneer and cornerstone of the league during her WNBA career.

Early years

Leslie is the daughter of Christine Lauren Leslie, who started her own truck driving business to support her three children, and Walter Leslie, a semiprofessional basketball player.[2] Walter left the family when her mother was four months pregnant with her.[2] Lisa's mother stood 6 ft 3 in. Leslie has two sisters: Dionne, who is five years older, and Tiffany, who is eight years younger. Lisa played basketball on an all boy basketball team in middle school. She also played on an all girls team with the record 33-1.


High school

By the time Leslie was in middle school in California, she had grown to over 6'1" but never participated in athletic activities besides tether ball and double dutch. Her dream then was to be a television weather reporter.[3]

During the first few weeks of junior high, a classmate begged Leslie to help out the basketball team.[4] On her first day of basketball tryouts, team members were told to split into two groups for layup drills: lefties and righties. Leslie was the only lefty in the "lefty" group, so from then on, she decided to become right-hand dominant so she would not have to stand in a line by herself. That decision worked to her advantage, as she became ambidextrous.[5]

In eighth grade, she transferred to a junior high school without a girls' basketball team, and joined a boys' basketball team. Her success there contributed to her confidence in her playing abilities.[5]

At 14, before Leslie had even started high school, she received more than a hundred college recruiting letters, including some from top Division I programs at the University of Tennessee and Stanford University.[5]

Leslie continued her education in 1986 by enrolling at Morningside High School in Inglewood, California.[2] She made an immediate impact on the basketball program, starting every game for the girl's varsity team. She also found time to join the volleyball team and compete in track and field. She ended up being a state qualifier in the 400-meter run and the high jump.[3] In the final game of the 1989–1990 season, she scored 101 points in the first half of the game against South Torrance, to give her team a 102–24 halftime lead. The opposing team voted at halftime to forfeit the game, rather than continue.[2]

By the time she was a sophomore in high school, she was able to dunk the ball in the open court, even though she was not able to palm the ball. She was her team's leading scorer and rebounder and led them to the 1989 California state championship. Leslie was so talented that she was invited to participate in the USA's Junior World Championship team.[3] Entering her senior year, she developed into the top player in the country. She led her team to a state championship averaging 27 points and 15 rebounds per game.[2]


Leslie decided to stay close to home and attend women's basketball powerhouse the University of Southern California from 1990–1994.[6] She graduated from USC with a bachelor's degree in communications and later completed her master's degree in business administration[7] from the University of Phoenix.[8][9]

Her college basketball career was spectacular. Leslie played in a total of 120 college games, averaging 20.1 points, hitting 53.4% of her shots, and knocking down 69.8% of her free throws. She set the PAC-10 conference records for scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots accumulating 2,414 points, 1,214 boards, and 321 blocked shots. She also holds the USC single season record for blocked shots in a single season (95).[6]

During her college career, USC compiled an impressive 89–31 record. They won one PAC-10 conference championship and earned four NCAA tournament appearances. Leslie was honored with All PAC-10 recognition all four years, as well as becoming the first player in PAC-10 history to obtain first team all four years and earn the prestigious Rookie of the Year award in 1991.[10] Leslie was also honored on the national platform by earning the National Freshman of the year award in 1991, and recognition as the nation's best female basketball player earning the National Player of the year in 1994. In 1992, 93, and 94, she earned All-American Honors as well.[10]

USA Basketball

Leslie was a member of the USA team competing at the 1991 World University Games held in Sheffield, England. Leslie was the second leading scorer on the USA squad, averaging 13.0 points per game, and helped the Tara VanDerveer coached team to an 8–0 record and the gold medal.[11]

She competed with USA Basketball as a member of the 1992 Jones Cup Team that won the Gold in Taipei for the first time since 1987.[12]


The WNBA was incorporated in 1996 and commenced play in 1997. Leslie was drafted on January 22 by the Los Angeles Sparks as part of the Initial Allocation phase of the draft. She helped the Sparks make the playoffs five consecutive times, but the team did not win a WNBA title until 2001.[13] That year, Leslie was named the 2001 Sportswoman of the Year (in the team category) by the Women's Sports Foundation.[14]

On July 12, 2002, Leslie became the first woman to dunk the ball in a WNBA game.[2] That same year she became the first WNBA player to score over 3,000 total career points and contributed to the Sparks winning their second straight world championship that season. Two seasons later, she became the first player to reach the 4,000-career point milestone.[13] Leslie remains the Sparks' career scoring and rebounding leader, as well as the all time league leader in rebounds.[6] On August 11, 2009, Leslie became the first player to score 6,000 points in a career.[15] Earlier that month she was the first player to reach 10,000 career PRA (points + rebounds + assists), a statistic fundamental to the WNBA "Pick One Challenge" fantasy game.

Lisa Leslie announced her retirement effective at the end of the 2009 season on February 4, 2009.[16] The Sparks held a farewell ceremony for Leslie during their final home game of the season in September.[17] She finished holding the league records for points (6,263), rebounds (3,307) and PRA (10,444).[18]

WNBA award[10] years
MVP 2001, 2004, 2006
WNBA Titles 2001, 2002
Finals MVP 2001, 2002
All-WNBA First Team 1997, 2000–2004, 2006
All-WNBA Second Team 1998, 1999, 2005
All-Star Game MVP 1999, 2001, 2002
All-Star Games 1999–2003, 2005, 2006, 2009
All-Decade Team 1997–2006
Defensive Player of the Year 2004, 2008
All-Defensive First Team 2006
All-Defensive Second Team 2005
Player of the Week 14 (league record)

International and Olympic

Leslie has made four consecutive Olympic appearances, and has earned four gold medals. She was the second female basketball player ever to earn that many gold medals, after Teresa Edwards. Leslie has also made appearances with the United States national women's basketball team where she won gold medals in 1996 and 2000, and has also earned a world championship.[1] Leslie scored 35 points against Japan in the semifinals of the 1996 Olympics to set an American Olympic women's scoring record.[2]

Leslie is one of seven USA Basketball's three-time Olympians, and one of two players with four gold medals. She led the U.S. team in scoring during the 2004 Olympic Games. During her third Olympic completion, she became the USA's all-time leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker in Olympic competition. Every time she has competed in a major international event, she has compiled double-digit scoring averages. Leslie, at age 20, was also the youngest player to participate at the USA Olympic Trials in 1992.[10]

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics medal awards, despite being requested by officials not to, Leslie wore her gold medals from 3 past Olympics while being awarded her team's current win. Leslie's actions were viewed by members of the Australian national team, her opponents in the gold medal game, as grandiose and poor sportsmanship.[19]

Leslie has had a fierce rivalry with Lauren Jackson ever since the 2000 Olympics, when the Australian star ripped out Leslie's hair extensions during a game.[20][21]

Personal life

Lisa Leslie was married in 2006 to Michael Lockwood. In 2007, she took a year's leave from professional basketball for a pregnancy. Leslie and Lockwood have a daughter, Lauren Jolie Lockwood, who was born June 15, 2007.[22] After having the baby, Lisa got back in shape and returned to the WNBA for the 2008 season.[5] Leslie had her second child, Michael Joseph Lockwood II, on April 6, 2010.[23]

Leslie is also a fashion model and an aspiring actress. She has been featured in Vogue and Newsweek, as well as many sports publications.[2] She has been on ESPN numerous times and has been a guest star on several top hit shows such as Sister Sister, The Game, and One on One. She is a guest commentator for "Sports Zone" on ABC7 Eyewitness News Los Angeles and wears the Circle 7 logo from the channel when on the show. She has also acted in a variety of commercials. Early in her career she signed a modeling contract with the Wilhelmina modeling agency.[13] Lisa also was on the show, "Superstars", and she and her partner, David Charvet, took 3rd place after David injured his wrist. Lisa also played herself in an episode of the TV-show The Jersey, where she switched bodies with a boy.

See also

  • List of basketball players who have scored 100 points in a single game


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lisa Leslie Bio.". NBC Universal. Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Porter p. 279–280
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Lisa Leslie Biography". Black Book Partners. 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  4. Grundy p. 222
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Leslie, Lisa, and Larry Barnett. Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Meyer, Jan (1997). "Women in Sports". Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  7. Peter, Josh (21 July 2008). "Day in the life of Lisa Leslie". Yahoo. Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  8. SPORTS OF THE TIMES; University Sells Itself During Playoffs NYTimes Website, Accessed March 20, 2009
  9. Los Angeles Sparks Lisa Leslie Receives her Masters at University of Phoenix WireImage Website, Accessed March 20, 2009
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "USA Basketball". United States Olympic Committee. 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  11. "FIFTEENTH WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES -- 1991". USA Basketball. Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  12. "1992 WOMEN'S R. WILLIAM JONES CUP". Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Gretchen (March 22, 2006). "Girls Can't What". Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  14. "Sportswoman of the Year Award". Women's Sports Foundation. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  15. "Sparks' Leslie becomes 1st player to 6,000 points". AP. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  16. Lisa Leslie Announces Retirement, February 4, 2009
  17. Lisa Leslie acknowledges the fans during 'Lisa Leslie's Farewell Game'
  18. Lisa Leslie Playerfile
  19. "Dan Carter signs four-deal to stay in NZ".,27313,24235038-5017043,00.html. 
  20. "Video". CNN. 2004-08-30. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  21. .,21985,24044768-10914,00.html.  Template:Dead link


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