Lisa Leslie was born on July 7, 1972 in Gardena,California and  is the daughter of Christine Leslie, a truck driving owner and Walter Leslie, a semi-professional basketball player. Her father abandoned the family when Lisa was 5 years old, leaving Christine to raise Lisa and her sisters Dionne and Tiffany as a single parent. Christine Leslie refused to accept public assistance and needed a livelihood that would bring in a dependable income that would support three daughters. She decided to buy a truck and started working as a long-haul trucker and traveled the country with her daughters when school was out of session. During the school year, she hired a housekeeper to watch her daughters and on other occasions their aunt Judy would do some parenting. After years of hard work and sacrifice, she finally succeeded in getting a trucking route. She eventually moved her family to Inglewood, California, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers. Lisa was born unusually tall for a woman and by the time she entered the seventh grade, she was 6 feet 1 inches tall. Many people asked her if she played basketball and she became so annoyed that she almost quit playing basketball. However, the star of the junior high basketball team talked her into trying out for the team. She led her team to an undefeated season. Lisa Leslie did not just use her height for an advantage and she often worked with her cousin Craig and developed her footwork and shooting.

In 1986, she entered Morningside High School and started every game for the girls varsity basketball team. In her sophomore year, she led them to the 1989 California state championship. In her junior year, she achieved her maximum height of 6 feet 5 inches tall. Leslie was regarded as the best high school player in the city. In her senior year, she averaged 27 points and 15 rebounds per game. She led Morningside to another championship. On February 7, 1990, Lisa Leslie scored 101 points against South Torrance. She probably would have broken Cheryl Miller's state record of 105 points. However, South Torrance refused to play the second half. Lisa was a versatile athlete and also played volleyball and ran track and field. She qualified for the California 400-meter run and high jump. After graduation, she decided to attend the University of Southern California.

In her first game for USC, she scored 30 points and 20 rebounds against the University of Texas and went on to become the NCAA Freshman of the Year. Lisa Leslie averaged 20.1 points per game and accumulated 2,414 points, 1,214 rebounds, and 321 blocked shots in her career at USC. Throughout her career, Lisa improved her defense and became a good passer which developed from being double-teamed and USC complied an impressive 89-31 record. Leslie became the first Pac-10 player to ever be All-Confernce for all four years and USC appeared in 4 NCAA tournament appearences and she was the National Player of the Year in 1994.

In 1996, Lisa Leslie helped the United States Women's Olympic Basketball team win a gold medal in the Summer Olympics. She was the #7 pick of the Los Angeles Sparks and became one of the original members of the Women's National Basketball Association. In 2000, she led the United States to another gold medal and in 2001 she led the Sparks to their first WNBA championship, defeating the Charlotte Sting. On July 22, 2002,she became the first WNBA player to score 3,000 points when she scored 24 points against the Orlando Miracle and on July 30, 2002, in a game against the Miami Sol, she became the first woman to dunk in a WNBA game. In 2006, Lisa Leslie had her best season when she averaged 20 points per game and scored a career high 41 points against the San Antonio Silver Stars and  was named the WNBA Most Valuable Player. Lisa Leslie retired after the 2009 season and she holds WNBA records for most career points(6,283) and rebounds(3,307). She averaged 17.3 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game and 2.3 blocks per game and in 2011, she was voted by the fans as one of the top 15 players in the 15-year history of the WNBA. Today, Lisa Leslie is a part-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks and on June 23, 2006, the Sparks' home court was renamed "Lisa Leslie Court" and her #9 jersey was retired on August 10, 2010.

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