Asjha Jones joined the Portland Trail Blazers in April 2021 as director of basketball strategy. Jones assists in the team’s strategic planning and future-focused initiatives, salary cap management, and transaction execution. Jones is also active in roster construction and player evaluation for the draft, free agency and trades. Before arriving in Portland, Jones spent the 2020 season as an assistant coach with the Washington Mystics of the WNBA, where she was a player development assistant from 2018-19. She became the first person to win a WNBA title as both a player and a coach when the Mystics won the championship in 2019.
Jones played 12 seasons in the WNBA, winning a championship with Minnesota in 2015 and garnering two All-Star appearances in 2007 and 2009, and an All-WNBA Second Team honor in 2008 with Connecticut. Playing for Team USA, Jones won gold medals at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Prague and the 2012 London Olympics. She also played internationally in Israel, Russia and Spain. Jones is a 2002 graduate of UConn, where she studied business and won two NCAA titles in 2000 and 2002.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’ve been around the world and back, but I would probably say just enjoy the moments. We always look for the next thing, when we should enjoy the process and where you are right now. Take it all in, and enjoy the people you meet along the way because it’s all about who you know. I think I could have done a better job of making people more a part of my life that I encountered during the process.
What would you tell a young girl who’s trying to be excel in the environment that she’s in?
Whatever you’re doing, do it well, and no matter what, no one can take that from you. You show up as yourself, and I think I’ve been fortunate to be in that environment. It’s important to be in a place where you are comfortable, and not try to stay in a toxic place. Everyone thinks “This may be my opportunity,” but maybe that one’s not for you. You can’t be afraid to pivot … and just always keep yourself in [the same] place. That’s not good for you. Do everything you’re doing well, and do not always look for the next thing. You need to do this thing well and be good at it because that’s your foundation. A lot of people are always looking for the next thing, and they never really build that foundation. When people get upset, they’re like “How did they get that job?” I always say if it’s not for them, they won’t keep it. They have it right now. Maybe you were overlooked, but keep doing your thing, and they’ll see you.