After Hawaii’s first female starting varsity quarterback broke her collarbone, New Orleans Saints. quarterback Drew Brees reached out to tell her that she’d bounce back better than ever. “I’m definitely coming back next season,” she says. “I don’t how my parents feel about it yet, but I will definitely be back. Hopefully stronger than ever. To show everybody what a girl can do.”
"She basically wanted to do everything that her brother could do," says Delino Sr., a bunting and baserunning instructor in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, of his daughter. "You could see the competitiveness in her really early." One of his favorite memories is when Diamond's mother tried to sign her up for cheerleading—she was around five. In no time at all, she'd accessorized her cheerleading uniform with a baseball glove on one hand and a football in the other. "I was just like, you know you're wasting your time, right?" he remembers, laughing. "She's not going to be holding pompoms. She's going to be playing ball."
Becky Hammon was only the beginning. Over the past few years, women have slowly moved into positions of power within NBA front offices. There's still a ways to go, but for the female decision-makers already in place, the possibility that they could run a franchise themselves isn't just a theory anymore.
"You could really tell that she played the game and is so curious about basketball," Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson says. But there was more behind the respect she earned among Hollis-Jefferson and his teammates. "Something that always stood out with Sarah was just, kind of like, she has this natural energy," he adds. "She just cares about people—you can tell."
“I don't think it's coincidental that the dunk becomes emblematic of men's basketball—and supposedly what makes men's basketball exciting—right at the moment the women's game is ascendent,” says Michael Messner, a professor of sociology and gender studies at USC and co-author of the upcoming book No Slam Dunk: Gender, Sport and the Unevenness of Social Change.