Ironically, it is in this moment of receiving my greatest living honor that I finally understand and realize my own insignificance.
Candice Wiggins, as the world knows her on the basketball court, would never have existed if not for these people who paved the way not only for my career to flourish as an athlete, but for my life to hold significance in a way that is highly impactful to those around me.
My personality has been shaped by the small sacrifices of these people, who saw something special inside me and made a conscious effort to clear a way for me to use my determination and be the highly competitive player that I ultimately became.
Grandma Anna "Pearl" Woods
My grandmother has always been my spiritual counselor throughout my life and always brings light to any darkness that permeates my world. For example, from as early as my father's funeral, where we wore matching yellow dresses, she has given me nothing but sunshine in a sometimes dark and difficult experience. I remember when I was at Stanford, she gifted me a Bible and explained how I would always have a true friend in Christ, even if it felt like I was abandoned.
I remembered these very words when I was met with my greatest challenge: our Stanford team was about to play the University of Maryland in the 2008 Elite 8. In my despair, when I felt as though I had no one to talk to, I called my grandma that day and that phone call shaped the rest of my life as I know it.
Cassandra and Alan
My mother's brother Darrell McKenzie is more than my beloved uncle, he is the closest I have ever had to a father, and my appreciation for him for protecting me and my family cannot be expressed. More than anything, he helped structure my confidence to understand that my dreams were not only believable, but also achievable. He taught me how to live and lead by example.
Kelly, Cheri, Juste and "Lil' D"
My father's brother showered me with love and support long before the very first day I started playing basketball at 5 years old. With all the pressure that overwhelmed me from the time my career started flourishing at 6 and 7 years old, my Uncle Don allowed me to see how different my life could be from that of my father's, and from this revelation basketball became a perfect escape from the baseball world I was born into. I appreciate him most for this.
Mary Jo, Nathan and Meredith
Uncle Ron, Cousin Timothy and Jeremy
Aunt Melinda, Dexter, Kennedy, Sasha, Kiah, and Skylar
Uncle David, Uncle Cedric, Uncle Rodney, Marina, Lil' Rodney, Tyler
Shaneka, Pat and Richard Wesley
High School Coaches
Gail Kuwatani (physical therapist/mentor)
High School Teammates
Amanda and Laurie
Lee Michael Zapata
Roble Hall 2A
There are countless more on this list; many, many people who share a special part of me. Today I understand how vast the influence around me has been throughout the entire course of my basketball career and my life. As I hold on to the memories of all of those who have shaped my past, I look ahead to the future. I finally realize this most important thought: nobody goes through life or ever accomplishes anything significant alone.
There is a team for every time and place in your life.
Four time All-American, WNBA Champion, Edutainer and Coach