By Doug Feinberg, AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Swin Cash has been synonymous with winning over her entire career. She’s had success at virtually every level she’s played at, from her two championships at UConn to three titles in the WNBA.
And still, some around the league think of her more for what she’s done off the court, like leading her Cash for Kids charity.
“We’ve been able to positively help so many kids over the years, getting them to choose the right path,” said Cash after New York practiced Tuesday. “That is a legacy that will last long after my career is over.”
Twenty-five of those kids will be in attendance Wednesday night when the Liberty play the Seattle Storm. They’ll be there to see Cash get honored after the game at Madison Square Garden. The 15-year WNBA veteran announced in June that she would retire at the end of the season.
“During the season, you’re always like, ‘It’s down the road,’ but now it’s here,” Cash said. “I’ll go into it and try and make sure that I don’t cry. That’s the biggest thing. I’m happy to see how many people are able to come in from out of town to celebrate this day with me.”
It’s fitting that the retirement ceremony will come with Seattle in town as Cash helped the Storm win a title in 2010.
“It’s ironic how it all worked out. It’s awesome, Sue (Bird) and I being college roommates, teammates, the career we had,” Cash said. “It’s going to be special having her there. It’s going to be a lot of emotions and a lot of happiness, too.”
Bird will partake in the ceremony as well as former teammate Tina Thompson and WNBA President Lisa Borders.
“She’s accomplished so much in her career. Of course there’s on the court, she’s a winner,” Bird said. “The impact she’s had on not just one community in this league, because she played for a couple teams. She went out of her way to make sure she connected with each city she played in. Not many players do that, not many players have the passion to do that. For Swin that’s the mark she’s left.”
Cash has played most of her career under Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer in both New York and Detroit. Don’t expect the Liberty’s coach to be overly sentimental on Wednesday, it’s just the way he is. Laimbeer joked postgame Saturday when first asked about Cash and the ceremony, “Who?”
He was more serious Tuesday about Cash’s impact.
“It’s always easier when you have good leadership in a locker room for a coach,” he said. “That won’t show in the public eye, but that’s why we brought her to New York. I think as far as her on the floor, she’s a great ambassador. Works hard. That’s what the fans appreciate. It remains to be seen if her biggest impact in women’s basketball is on or off the court. That story still has to be written.”
Cash was at the forefront in July when New York took a stand in support for the Black Lives Matter movement and for five Dallas police officers who were killed.
“She’s been a leader in every sense of the word,” said teammate Tanisha Wright, who played with Cash in Seattle and New York. “People respect what she does on the court and off it.”
Besides her charity, Cash has been a broadcaster for a few years doing in-studio work for ESPN as well as being part of an all-woman talk show on CBS. She hopes to continue that after her basketball career ends.
“I’ve been blessed to have a lot of opportunities,” Cash said.
Wednesday night, the fans and her teammates will get a chance to say thank you. It would be sweeter if it comes after a victory, which would secure the third seed for New York in the playoffs.
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