The Scoop on Tina Charles: Making an Impact on and off the Court

WNBA legend Tina Charles proves why she is much more than just a basketball player.

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By Afra Mahmud

Tina Charles, one of the WNBA’s finest athletes, was drafted first overall to the Connecticut Sun in 2010 and currently plays for the Washington Mystics. Though often overshadowed, she has achieved many accomplishments in her 10 year WNBA career. She was the Most Valuable Player in 2012, selected as a WNBA All-Star seven times, and has won two Olympic gold medals. Her impact, however, extends far beyond the numbers.

Following the death of Charles Kinsey in 2016, Charles wore her warm-up shirt inside out in violation of the league’s uniform policies to send a message about his tragic death. Her courage to go against the norm set an example for future nonviolent protests within both the WNBA and NBA. Additionally, since 2013, she has been donating portions of her WNBA salary to the Hopey’s Heart Foundation, an organization that sends defibrillators to schools and recreational centers. She has also started donating funds to the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19 relief organizations. In doing so, Charles sends the powerful message that people, especially athletes, should not be afraid to speak up about important matters.

As Charles stated in a New York Times article, “At the end of the day…it’s just about how I was able to leave a lasting impact on someone [whom] I came across. I’m thankful, regardless of how my story ends basketball-wise.”