Throwback Thursday

Sept. 2, 2010

Tamecka Dixon (women’s basketball, 1994-97)

One of three Kansas women’s basketball players to be named a Kodak All-American, Dixon ranks seventh on the Jayhawk all-time scoring chart with 1,689 points. She was named to the final Big 8 Player of the Year in 1996 and the inaugural Big 12 Player of the Year in 1997. Dixon was instrumental in leading the Jayhawks to their first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 1996. Dixon had her best year in 1996-97 when she averaged 20.8 points and 5.6 rebounds. She went on to be selected in the first round of the 1997 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. Dixon helped guide the Sparks to back-to-back WNBA titles in 2001-02. She suited up for the Houston Comets and Indiana Fever prior to retiring in early 2010 from the WNBA. She is currently preparing to leave for Italy in late September. She will be playing for Pozzuoli, in the Italian league.

At what age did you start playing hoops? What/who inspired you to play the game?

“I started playing when I was three. My father Russell “Boo” Bowers was playing at American University when I was little. I would always tag along with him to the gym and I fell in love with it then.”

Did you ever envision having a career in hoops last this long?

“Actually, no. I thought there would be an opportunity to go overseas for a few years, but I just happened to be born at the right time. While I was at KU, the WNBA was on the horizon. I had an insider’s prospective with Renee Brown. She was an assistant coach at KU when I got here and she ended up leaving to take a job with WNBA. She kept us up to speed on what was going on. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

What factors led to you choosing KU?

“Hands down, Marian Washington. I met with about 30 schools. I am pretty sure I had 30 home visits. The Kansas staff just really stood out to me. They presented the program and the academic side of the University to my whole community, there were so many people in my house! I definitely felt at home right away. I took a visit and loved the campus and team. I was sold.”

What were the biggest adjustments for you coming from the big city to Lawrence?

“Lawrence is a bit slower than what I was used to, but it was a welcome change. Being in Kansas, in that type of atmosphere, allowed me to focus more on my school work and basketball. I really liked the Midwestern people. The environment was great. I was ready to get out of city life!”

What countries have you played in overseas and what other jobs have you had during your WNBA offseasons?

“I have played in Turkey, Italy, Russia. I keep going back to Italy, it is definitely my favorite spot. I have played there six years, Russia two and Turkey one. Overall my experiences in Europe have been great!

I also interned with the WNBA, the New Jersey Nets and NBA Entertainment. It was great because I learned the behind the scenes world in professional sports. At NBAE I did a lot of editing videos, etc. With the Nets I worked in branding, working with corporate sponsors. I gained a ton of valuable experience at all three of my internships.”

What does your future hold?

“I will for sure play at least one more season and maybe one more after that. I will all just depend on how well my body holds up with injuries, etc. I still enjoy playing, so I want to play as long as I can physically still perform.

I founded a performance training company, Xcel Basketball, in 2008, along with my personal trainer. Our company is geared towards training high school and professional athletes and helping them get to the next level. I am just now getting around to really being able to put in the footwork to getting it off the ground. This was my first summer not playing basketball competitively since middle school, so I got a chance to do a lot of work with Xcel. We did some clinics in New Jersey and Texas. I would like to eventually do some things in the Lawrence area. “

How does it feel to be one of just three women’s basketball players to have your jersey hanging in Allen Fieldhouse?

“It is awesome! Absolutely awesome! It is something that, no matter what, it will always be standing and hanging in the rafters. It’s a tremendous honor to be hanging with the likes of the others names in Allen Fieldhouse. The building speaks for itself. Kansas has unparalleled tradition, so to be a part of it a wonderful feeling.”

Have you had a chance to tour the upgraded/new basketball facilities?

“No, unfortunately I have not had a chance to see them in person. I have seen some pictures online. I have heard great things and I am grateful to be a part of the growth. We thought everything at KU was nice when we were there, but I am sure the new upgrades blow our stuff out of the water! I would like to, at some point, come back and visit and be a part of the program and what they are building now. I try to do my best to keep up with the current team and how they are doing. I am happy to see that they are their way to being one of the better teams in the country again.”

What is your fondest memory from your playing days at KU?

“It is really tough to pick just one. I think the biggest memory I have taken with me is advancing to the Sweet 16. It was the first time KU advanced that far and still ties as the farthest the program has been and being a part of taking that step was great.”

What is your most amazing overall hoops experience?

“I think the most amazing experience was winning back-to-back WNBA titles. I spent my whole career chasing that feeling of winning it all. It was an amazing accomplishment and experience.”