A Women's Hoops Podcast + More

Gabby Williams: ‘All we needed was the chance’

Mar 25, 2021

By Tamryn Spruill 

Gabby Williams, a forward for the Chicago Sky, is an international basketball star currently killing it overseas for Sopron Basket (Hungary). In spite of Sopron’s one loss this season in the quarterfinals (and because of the EuroLeague Women’s system of points differential), the team has advanced to the semifinals where it will face Perfumerias Avenidas (Spain) on April 16.

Through the group stage of EuroLeague Women play, Williams stuffed the stat sheet with 16.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game and her efficiency was equally impressive: She shot 49.3 percent overall, made 50.9 percent of attempted two-pointers, banked 45 percent of attempted three-pointers and connected on 81.8 percent of her free throws.

Williams took time out of her schedule in January between the end of the EuroLeague Women regular season and the start of the Hungarian Cup to discuss her new partnership with Ford, muscle cars in general, society’s obsession with gendering everything, how her stellar season overseas will help her in the 2021 WNBA season and a whole lot more.

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HIGHLIGHTS

On what she learned about herself during the 2020 WNBA season of pandemic and protest:

I learned just how powerful, especially women of color, are and that this isn’t the first time where women of color have taken the forefront on these issues. And I think in the past has always been run by women but credited to the men since forever. You know, since America began: slavery, since Jim Crow, Black Panthers. You know, Black Lives Matter was started by women as well. 

On whether she feels bitter that women, especially Black women, rarely get due credit for their contributions:

The most important thing is that we’re making a difference. Is that a difference is being made; changes are being made. But like you said, this is a little bit backhanded because it’s not exactly the goal. It’s like, yeah, you know, it’s still all about the men. But it’s just about educating. And people are getting more and more educated about this stuff every day, and we’re helping to do that. And LeBron (James) speaking on that is also educating because he’s supportive of the WNBA as well. And it’s the same thing with our white allies in the league. They did a lot of work because we needed them to, because we knew that their voices had a different platform than ours.

On her mindset regarding endorsements as she was leaving the NCAA and stepping up to the pros:

I think I was excited just because I was out of that toxic, you know, work for free zone. So I was excited just that I had an opportunity to, like, get paid for working, which I’d been doing for four years, previous. I was just kind of excited, like, wow, someone’s allowed to, like, buy me coffee and compliance won’t be down my throat. Like when people started reaching out to me. I was like, ‘Is this okay?’ I get this right? Am I allowed to? It took me a while to be like, ‘No, You work for it. You earned it. You deserve it.’

On the 2020 season of social justice:

I think it felt like I didn’t have a choice. But not like I was forced to do anything, obviously. It just felt like it was a no-brainer. Like, this is what I have to do. You know, I’m thinking of my brothers. I’m thinking of my future son. I’m thinking, you know, of all the men and women in my life. I’m thinking of myself. I’m thinking of all the aggressions and racism that I faced, and I don’t want the next generation to face that. I don’t want the WNBA players, the next to come, to have to face that either. You know, I don’t want anyone to have to. So that’s just what it felt like. It just felt like it wasn’t a choice. 

On the ‘Sky Takes Action’ initiative:

“Sky Takes Action” was like our collective way of, one, like bringing forward some minority-led organizations in Chicago that maybe aren’t as popular, ones that need funding, some more grassroots ones that we could have a real direct effect on. And each one had, like, a very specific issue that needed to be talked about, and that our fans, or just people in general, need to be educated on. And that’s why we chose them. We ended up raising a lot of money, and we’re working on the distribution right now.

On her current sources of inspiration:

I think it’s just like my teammates, especially when I was in the wubble and not even (just) my teammates. Just every player in the WNBA right now. I can’t even pick one, because every time I like go on Twitter, I see someone doing this, Elizabeth (Williams) doing this. I’m just like, dang, like our league is full of, like, bad-ass women. Like, that’s just so cool. I see Natasha (Cloud) doing her thing. … I see someone is a part of a new campaign or advocating for something else or out in the streets doing some work. That’s just so cool.

 

Further reading:

Gabby Williams shows some muscle