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Volume 24 No. 158
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Weekend Plans With WNBA President Laurel Richie: Bowling Pins & Future Planning

As March Madness winds down, WNBA President LAUREL RICHIE picks up the start of her busy season. She is heading from her N.Y. home to ESPN HQs in Bristol for a weekend stocked with financial planning, image workshops, and a little bowling to boot, as the league hosts a rookie orientation in advance of the WNBA Draft on Monday.

A DOZEN REASONS: This is a pretty unique weekend in the year for me as it is actually going to be spent with 12 women who we believe are going to be entering into the WNBA on Monday. Friday night I head up to Bristol, Connecticut, and do an opening piece with them. I literally participate in the full orientation.

ACROSS THE SPECTRUM: I will say it’s a very atypical weekend for me, but one that I’m very excited about. Something fun we are doing this year is Essence magazine will be there doing some conversations on image and dress and branding. It’s great, there are things like they meet our marketing and PR and operations. We meet with a nutritionist; they meet with the players’ union because we do this in partnership with them. We do a segment on financial planning; on safety; we have one of our partners coming to participate. They meet with some of our officials; they meet with a panel of some of our players.

STRIKE CITY: For players and any of their family members that are coming in for (the) Draft, we’re going bowling on Saturday night. I actually am really excited about that. I actually love bowling and I only get to bowl with my 7-year-old niece. I am under 100. I said I enjoyed bowling, I didn’t say I was proficient at bowling. I don’t own my own shoes. My dad was in a bowling league for most of the time as I was growing up. I never got my own shoes or my own ball, but I feel like it’s a little bit part of my DNA. If I were ever to get anything of the bowling world, I’m surprised I don’t have one, I need to get a bowling shirt. Like those classic, old school bowling shirts. So maybe I’ll be on the lookout for that this weekend.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: ESPN does a terrific job, we sort of take over their campus for the weekend. For me it’s fun and exciting to go into the studio and be on. You just feel like you’re at the epicenter of the sports world when you’re there and it’s all focused on the W and it’s really fun. I don’t practice in the mirror before I go on air, but in my head I’m always practicing when I have my hair and makeup done. Hair and makeup is where I rehearse my lines. The café there has a lot of different options and you can eat healthy there, too.
HOOP DREAMS: I will not be playing ball with the rookies this weekend. There’s a fit clinic. I think I know my skill level pretty well and I know their skill level really well, so I will be at the fit clinic but I do not expect that I will go toe-to-toe with (top prospects) BRITTNEY GRINER or ELENA DELLE DONNE or SKYLAR DIGGINS.