Ivory Latta is a superstar. The former UNC standout and 11th overall pick in the 2007 WNBA draft is also the all-time leading scorer (men’s and women’s) in South Carolina prep hoops history. January 10 is Ivory Latta Day in York, S.C. She is the National Ambassador for Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Champions Program and, oh yeah, she’s good friends with LeBron James and rapper-actor Ludacris.
Rolling out caught up with Ivory in Turkey to discuss her life on and off the court.
What is life like as a professional ball player?
It has its good days and bad days. The good include traveling the world, learning new languages, and meeting new people. The downside is not having a personal life. You are sometimes thousands of miles away and can’t really have a personal life. But I’m very blessed to have traveled to different countries and to have my experience in Turkey. They love women’s basketball.
How did you link up with the PDF?
The experiences I had with my father is what made me link up with them. For years, I was in denial that my dad had Parkinson’s. I wanted to raise awareness and make a difference in others’ lives who live with this disease. Carlos of Invision Marketing connected me with some great people and made it happen. When I return to the states, I plan to go full-force with raising awareness.
Are you able to be as much of a role model overseas as you are in the states?
It’s kind of hard. In Turkey, I know they love women’s basketball. So I try to give back in small ways, like community camps, etc. I just try to carry myself in a well-mannered way no matter where I go.
What is your advice to young women who aspire to play in the WNBA and give back the way you do?
I was told I was too small to play in the WNBA. So, my advice is if you are told you can’t do something, work hard, and have a focus point. That will separate you from others. Put in the time on the court, off the court and in the classroom. And giving back is the most important thing in my life. Putting smiles on kids’ faces is priceless to me.