Atlanta Dream Co-Owner Strives To Elevate Women, WNBA

Layshia Clarendon of the Atlanta Dream (right) is active off the court with broadcasting work and as an advocate for LGBT athletes.
Credit Chris Carlson / Associated Press
Audio version of this story here.


For Atlanta Dream co-owner Mary Brock, there is practically a straight line between the basketball court and the board room, and she has data to back it up.

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“There have been so many studies and surveys done about successful women,” Brock said to In Conversation host Valerie Jackson. “If you look at women who are successful in business and you survey them and find out if they participated in sports at any time in their lives, over 80 percent participated in sports.”

Brock singles out the care that the Women’s National Basketball Association and the Atlanta Dream franchise take to elevate their players not just on the court, but after they’ve left the game.

“Most of your adult life is going to come after basketball,” she said. “So you work hard at your sport and at your skill, but you might be 30, 32, or 35, and you’re going to move on to something else. We think that’s part of our responsibility for these incredibly talented young women.”

The Dream’s starting point guard, Layshia Clarendon, has gotten a head start on her “something else,” taking on work in broadcasting as a basketball analyst for the Pac-12 Conference. In addition, she was named Female Hero of the Year in 2015 by Outsports for what was cited as her willingness “to use her platform to shift the conversation about lesbians and trans athletes in women’s sports.”

Ultimately, for both Brock and Clarendon, achievement on the court, in business and in life comes solely from hard work.

“You have to do the little things when no one’s watching,” Clarendon said. “It’s the 110 percent every day that you give. So it’s not ‘Oh, Monday I show up, I feel really good, I can work hard.’ What are you like on Thursday and Friday when you’re tired?”

“In Conversation with Valerie Jackson” is a series in which the former First Lady of Atlanta speaks with some of today’s most dynamic artists, innovative thinkers and interesting personalities. This program originally airs on May 21, 2017.