(Guru's Note: The Guru's good friend Sue Wicks, the former Rutgers and WNBA New York Liberty star who is now an assistant coach at St. Francis, N.Y., sent the Guru a report on her summer travels.
Her work has already appeared at web sites of the WBCA, NCAA and the State Department among other places but she felt Guru visitors who may not frequent the other sites on a regular basis might like the opportunity to read of her experiences.
Also, Sue may return next month as one of the Guru's celebrity analysts when the WNBA playoffs get under way.)
Blog Entry from
St. Francis College Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach Sue Wicks
At 30,000 feet flying over Mongolia on my way back to New York, my thoughts are still
in Manila wishing I were in a hot and humid gym with 200 plus enthusiastic Philippine
basketball players working on the “Dwayne wade patented jab step” with Miami Heat
Head Coach Erik Spoelstra and Assistant Coach Dave Fizdale.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural
Affairs, current and former NBA and WNBA players and coaches travel overseas each
summer as ambassadors of sport. This summer I was chosen by the NBA as one of its
Ambassadors. I can think of no greater compliment than to be entrusted by the league
and the State Department to represent our sport and more importantly our country
The NBA is dedicated to demonstrating leadership in social responsibility, using the
popularity and visibility of its teams, players and the league to effect positive change
around the world. While I have always been a fan of the NBA, especially my beloved
Knicks, my true calling is the promotion of the WNBA and the participation of all young
women in sports. The benefits are obvious as far as heath but to see the confidence and
self‐possessed attitude of young female athletes is so beautiful
During the trip, we conducted clinics, visited schools and spoke to youth about the
importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity. The goal of
the program is to bring people together through sports while encouraging the
development of basketball on a grassroots level. The Philippine people have a passion
for basketball and a knowledge of the league that would put many beat writers and a
few General Managers in the League to shame!
The first day started in Manila where we fought through a monstrous traffic jam of jeeps
and bicycles to get on a flight to Zamboanga City. We were briefed early that morning
about terrorist activity in the area but no one in our envoy even blinked, we were here
to share our love of basketball and Zamboanga children would not be denied that
opportunity because of any political situation. The closest we came to terrorist activity
was Coach Spoelstra singing karaoke.
The Basketball clinic with school‐based and out‐ofschool
youth basketball players was a great success. Seeing coach Spoelstra, a Filipino‐
American, was an amazing source of pride for all the children. Actually every person we
encountered in the streets seemed to know Coach Spoelstra and rushed up to shake his
hand and offer advice on free agency.
David Fizdale, one of the brightest young coaches in the NBA, used his quick mind to get
three hours of drills, skills and competitions together during a 5 minutes coaches
huddle. I guarantee at least half of the campers will be doing reverse pivots in their
dreams with coach Fiz commending them to “spin, spin, spin.” If Erik was the lead singer
of our group than Coach Fizdale was the rhythm section who never missed a beat. He
was the ultimate playmaker who made us all look good without taking a bit of credit.
We spent the rest of the week in Manila conducting camps for all levels of players from
8‐year‐old girls to the members of the Philippine national team.
We met with the wealthiest and the poorest people in the country during our trip. We
were offered everything from lavish dinners and the use of private jets to simple shell
necklaces; all presented with the same open hearted generosity that seemed to be the
unifying quality of all Philippine people! I know I speak for our entire team when I say
we were overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of these amazingly resourceful
people. I feel truly blessed to have had this wonderful opportunity of sharing with the
I would personally like to thank the U.S. State department and the NBA. With very
special thanks to:
Ambassador Kristie Kenney
Ms. Leslie Basset
Ms. Martha Buckley
Ms. Najlaa Abdus‐Samad
Ms. Rebecca Thompson
Mr. Jomar Ascaño
Ms. Jojie Sopia
The next president of the Philippines and current coach of the Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra
and David Fizdale
And Dave Yuen for offering me the use of Ruth Riley’s Condo in Miami