Giving back can not only help a person in need, but also help the giver by instilling in them a sense of perspective and purpose. This was the case for Los Angeles Sparks forward Reshanda Gray prior to the time she earned a contract with the Sparks.
The New York Liberty waived Gray in May 26 and the Sparks signed her in June 27. Being waived was difficult news for Gray.
“When I got cut, I was hurt, I was down. I literally didn’t do anything for a week because I was stuck,” Gray said. “It kind of hurt really hard because I sat out the league for two years and then I came back into the league and proved why I should be there.”
Being waived from a team is nothing new to Gray, but the hurt she felt about being cut from the Liberty was surprising to her. She leaned on her faith in God during that time and redirected her focus. Gray saw that as a time to work on her foundation called No Gray Areas, which helps young girls and women from low income communities.
“My middle school and high school girls … I helped them academically, athletically, and socially because I feel like all three of them intertwine with each other,” Gray said. “I started to work on my website, I’m still working on it now, so I started to put that energy into my website.”
The Washington Prep alum also used her passion for hair styling to create the non-profit organization Gray Gray Salon. With Gray Gray Salon, she plans on joining forces with other beauticians to help beautify women.
“I love doing hair since I was in college,” Gray said. “I feel like it’s no greater feeling than having your hair done.”
Gray was in a Beauty Supply store when she got the call that the Sparks signed her.
“I was currently focusing on that,” Gray said. “That’s where I channel my energy towards once I got cut because I felt like I was having anxiety.”
While managing her nonprofits, Gray still trained and stayed in shape. After signing with the Sparks, she was determined to be whatever the team needs. In four games, she is averaging 2.5 rebounds per game. Since Gray arrived in the WNBA Wubble, she has been investing her down time into No Gray Areas.
“I actually get to connect with the young girls,” she said. “I get to have Zoom conversations; I get to help them set goals and plans that they have.”
Being a South Central Los Angeles native motivated her to empower others and spread love.
“I feel like the majority of the children that my program caters to is African American women,” Gray said. “My job is to focus on women and help build them up, build that confidence to show them that they’re beautiful queens and that they should carry themselves as queens and they have a voice.”