Ivory Latta of the Washington Mystics has earned the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award in recognition of her exceptional work in the community in 2016 and the WNBA’s most recent offseason, the WNBA announced today. The award, named in honor of a WNBA legend and Hall of Famer, recognizes a player who is an inspiration in her community and reflects Staley’s leadership, spirit, charitable efforts and love for the game.
“Ivory is not only influential on the basketball court but she is also a dynamic leader in the community,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders. “Her passion and dedication for educating youth has been inspirational to watch and represents the best of the WNBA. It is an honor to recognize her with this award.”
Latta’s community work is focused on promoting participation in youth sports and encouraging children and families to pursue active, healthy lifestyles. The 5-6 guard uses her own story of overcoming obstacles to inspire others, most notably through her new autobiographical children’s book, Despite the Height, which traces her path to success as an undersized player.
A two-time WNBA All-Star, Latta has shown a commitment to participating in clinics and camps in an effort to share important health and fitness tips with people of all ages. Last December, she helped conduct a WNBA FIT clinic at the Frank Bailey Senior Center in Atlanta.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to accomplish my goals and fulfill my dreams, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without people who went out of their way to support me,” said Latta. “As WNBA players, we have the platform to assist others in reaching their potential. I love having the chance to give back and help people achieve as much as they can.”
During the last WNBA offseason, Latta helped lead a Hoops for Troops USO tour in the Middle East as part of NBA All-Star 2017 in February. Latta attended the first-ever Hoops for Troops USO basketball tournament and an All-Star-themed viewing party. The trip was designed to support the USO’s Forces Behind the Forces, a campaign that encourages Americans to demonstrate their appreciation for those who serve.
In March, Latta joined Mystics teammate Krystal Thomas as well as head coach Mike Thibault and assistant coach Eric Thibault to oversee a series of clinics for players ages 8-18 in the United Arab Emirates as part of the Monumental Sports Global Academics.
“Ivory’s commitment to serving her community and making a difference in the lives of young adults exemplifies what it means to give back,” said Staley. “Her service through her trips and clinics abroad showcases the incredible impact that you can make not only at home but all over the world.”
The Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award is presented annually. A designated committee selected Latta as the winner from a group of nominated WNBA players. The WNBA will make a $10,000 donation to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation on behalf of Latta.