Its nothing new that Skylar Diggins has a lot on her plate but she balances it so gracefully because that’s just what point guards do, right? Outside of planning to wed her college sweetheart very soon, Diggins is also a model for Nike outside of hosting her own ‘Shoot 4 The Sky’ youth basketball camps around the country. As if that’s not enough to take on in addition to her WNBA career, Diggins has added another accolade to the list.
Diggins has hopped on board as this year’s ambassador for Allstate’s WBCA Good Works Team in which recognizes women’s college basketball players from all divisions whose community service and selfless acts stand out among all student-athletes participating in the sport. In being an ambassador, Diggins is making contributions that extend far beyond the basketball court. Check out our conversation below:
I understand you are the national ambassador of the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team this year, how did such an opportunity come about for you and what all does it entail?
For me, I jumped at the opportunity to support it because it seemed very organic. Just for me growing up, my dad’s a director for a recreation center so I’ve been seeing how he was in the community and how he made it a priority to give back. That was something that was so important to me. Even through Notre Dame and even now but especially just in college, I understand the demands that these young ladies have. The demands of being a student athlete, on the court, in the classroom, but for them to focus on being role models and volunteering and giving back to the community that’s something that you don’t really see highlighted too much. You always see accolades on the floor, granted you work hard for that but I think giving back to the community that’s something that’s evergreen. I just like what the WBCA and Allstate are doing highlighting these young ladies and giving them a platform because it’s tough being a student athlete and there’s a lot of demands especially playing on the highest levels so for them it’s so crazy how lengthy and extensive their resumes are as far as the community work that they’ve done. It’s great to have them highlighted for their work.
I know you have your ‘Shoot 4 The Sky’ camps around the country for grade school boys and girls amongst other things but, what are some philanthropy projects you have in mind for the future that you have yet to implement?
I can’t give it all to you [laughs]. But, Skylar Scholars is something you will be seeing a lot more of. It’s similar as far as highlighting, giving a platform through digital, social media and my website to young ladies and young men that have overcame some adversity. I’ve met so many young women and young men that I’ve talked to that overcame some adversity and it started when I was playing in Tulsa. I met this young boy a year prior. He came back the next season and I hadn’t seen him in some months. His mom said, “You need to ask him about them grades”, and she kind of smirked at him. So I asked him, “Man what’s going on with your grades?” His mom went on to explain that he had kind of fell behind. So I told him if you bring your grades up I’ll get you these pair of shoes because he had commented on my kicks previously. I told him if he brought his grades up I would buy him some new kicks. Probably a few weeks later report cards had came out and I saw this young man again at the game. He had this board with his own handwriting [he was in the fourth grade I believe] and he had all his teachers put his grades on the board and sign it. He brought that to me and I gave him a pair of shoes and I’ll never forget that. I even put it on Instagram. But it inspired me to start Skylar Scholars to give the youth a platform especially the ones that have overcame adversity and that continue to strive and that really inspire me more than they think.
What’s the most impactful philanthropic efforts you’ve received or been apart as a young player coming up?
Like I said, I’ve just had so many experiences with my dad growing up just from giving back to the community and just being involved and around from donations, to camps and free clinics, mentoring and motivational speaking. I think that’s so important now days for young kids to have mentors and people to look up to, big brother big sister programs, girl talks and girl chats to have the opportunity to chat with other females about other female things such as feelings and body image and self esteem and things like that. A plethora of things I did growing up when I was young or that I have been apart of are things I continue to do. It’s something I’m passionate about so being apart of that WBCA All State Team is just organic for me.
Through those mentorship programs and motivational speaking, what’s some advice you were given that you still use and take with you throughout life today?
Oh my gosh! It’s so crazy because it definitely still applies to me today. One message that still applies is “You do you!” Just do you. So many times people try act like other people or people try to be like somebody else when you should just be yourself. You think you have to act a certain way for people to accept you but I’ve learned you just have to be yourself and whoever rolls with you rolls with you. That’s what I always tell my kids. Just be the best that you can be and just be yourself and continue to challenge yourself. That’s some of the best I’ve learned to just be competitive with myself and push myself but more importantly, just be Sky. That’s what’s brought me to where I am now — just being Sky.
Vice versa, what is something you wish people would have told you or done for you coming up as a young female basketball player?
I think everything happens for a reason. I think if I had any hurdles growing up or if I bumped my head along the way it made me tougher. If I had any advice for my younger self it would be just to control the things that you can control and realizing exactly what that means and actually receiving that. Controlling what I can control and what other people think about you is none of your business. And stay out of other people’s business [laughs].
Who do you think is the biggest underdog this season? Like which team are most people underestimating that possibly has a good chance of winning it all this season?
That’s a good question. College basketball is so fun to watch this year because it’s so much parody. Everybody seems like they’re beating everybody with the exception of Connecticut whose been in some great tough games and who has actually won those tough games.
That’s a good question though. We’re going to be down here at the Final Four in Dallas and I was just saying I don’t know who is going to be in it. I’m hoping my Irish. I definitely believe they’ll prevail and get in. But I think the team that has the potential and I actually root for this team is Tennessee. I love Tennessee. I think they have all of the pieces. Jaime Nared and Diamond DeShields and Mercedes Russell, I think they’ve been playing really well. Mississippi State is a good team! South Carolina, Connecticut and the list goes on and on. I think a team that probably won’t get seeded as high as they wish but will still go really far is Maryland. They’re No.3 right now but I think they’re strength of schedule is going to put them at a lower seed. Everybody’s been talking but I think they will be a team that prevails and you’ll see them competing for a spot in the Final Four as well.