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The 6'1'' tall frame of Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) legend Swin Cash stands out from the group of U-16 basketball enthusiasts assembled at the St. Dominic Savio School's court. The three-time WNBA champion's role on the occasion is to serve as mentor for the students from 164 schools around Mumbai during what was the Reliance Foundation 3X3 Junior NBA Championship in the city. Yet as she spoke and advised the aspiring athletes, both boys and girls, she maintains that she was a tad biased towards the girls.
"You talk about the NBA, and all you think of are male athletes. So it's good for them to see people like me to serve as role models," she says, laughing.
Known off the court for her philanthropic work, the 34-year-old works extensively for charitable organisations, particularly her own brainchild, Cash for Kids.
"I come from a very humble background. My mum used to take me to help at different charitable works so that was instilled in me from a very young age," she says. "Basketball has given me a lot so now I'm trying to give back," she adds.
Cash's community work essentially focuses on basketball. Long before the champion basketball player made her way into the top league, she excelled in the sport on account of the free availability of the training facilities. Cash works to maintain the level of after-school sport for students by funding establishments that provide a free sporting opportunity for youngsters.
"When I was coming up, I could join organisations and not have to pay. But now with the economy, a lot of those programs have been cut, so I come in to try and finance these places to make sure they stay open, especially in low income areas," she says.
The two-time WNBA All Star Most Valuable Player (MVP) has also featured as a studio analyst, and given that she majored in communications while studying at the University of Connecticut, she hopes to take up a career in broadcasting. "My goal is to hold my own talk show," she says laughing. "Once I retire, I'd love to go into television and continue my work for my company," she adds.