People aren’t surprised when I tell them that the best 4 years of my life were at Penn State University as a member of the women’s basketball team. They get it. Sports bring people and communities together. Being a part of the Lady Lions did more than give me a community. It renewed me.
I had a rough childhood, and I became a mother at 16. I didn’t have a support system or community encouraging me to succeed. That all changed when I started playing basketball in high school. It gave me the means to make a better life for me and my daughter. And when I joined the Penn State team in 1981, as its first African-American player, I gained a family of teammates, coaches and fans. We supported each other in good times and bad. And we achieved greatness. Our team reached the NCAA® Tournament all 4 years I was at Penn State.
The lessons I learned at Penn State still drive me to do the best in everything I do. I learned to win on the court and in the classroom. I learned how to be a leader, and I became a pioneer. My experience as the first African-American player on the women’s basketball team helped open doors for future generations of women and minorities. Today, all kids look at athletes with the power to say, “I can do that too.”
At AT&T, we know that giving back and supporting communities – through sports, technology or education – makes a huge difference. We’re an innovative company with a network of 280,000 people. We work together to serve communities around the world. We're 1 big team, and I’m proud to play a role. I’m particularly proud of AT&T’s support for college athletics and women’s basketball as an NCAA® Corporate Champion. Even though my Lady Lions didn’t make it to the Final Four this year in Indianapolis, I’ll be supporting all the players and teams as they battle. And AT&T will offer more ways to connect to the games this year – in Indy and at home. Here’s my starting lineup:
- Share your own story in person and on social media about what women’s basketball means to you. For me, it means a chance to inspire the next generation of athletes. Sports are a way to teach kids how to share, how to communicate, how to be a teammate and how to be a leader. That’s what basketball and team sports are all about.
- Visit AT&T at Tourney Town in Indy to power up your mobile devices. Meet your favorite athletes. Create your own GIF. And experience a virtual pop-a-shot tournament.
- Tune in to DIRECTV to watch the Final Four games on ESPN (Channel 206) at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 3 and 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 5
If you can’t wait for the weekend’s basketball fun to start, kick things off with the AT&T Block Party on Friday night. The exciting concert will be broadcast live from Houston on att.com/blockparty and Audience Network (DIRECTV channel 239/U-verse channel 1114) starting at 4 p.m. CT. With this year’s huge acts, it promises to be a show to remember.
Kahadeejah “Dee” Herbert is a Senior Specialist – Equipment Design Engineer at AT&T and has been with the company for almost 22 years. Dee played basketball for Penn State University from 1981 – 1985 and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 4 years. She is one of the most celebrated players in Lady Lion’s history. She was the first in program history to score 2,000 points in a career and is only 1 of 3 to do so in PSU history. She is the all-time leading rebounder in Lady Lion history with 1,103 caroms, averaging over 8 per game for her career. Dee also holds the all-time record for field-goal percentage in a season when she shot .764 from the field during the 1983-84 campaign. She is a mother, grandmother and still volunteers her time with a local church’s basketball leagues.
AT&T is a Proud Partner of NCAA® March Madness®.
NCAA, March Madness and Final Four are trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Basketball photos courtesy of Penn State Athletics.