Top of the Heap

The past year and a half has brought on some major changes in the world of sports, which came in the form of several major advancements for women in the industry. In July 2014, Michele Roberts, a former trial lawyer, became the executive director of the NBA Players Association. And in doing so, she became the first woman to ever hold that position.

Bustle reports that Roberts garnered a lot of media attention for her role, but she hasn’t faltered in the face of this newfound attention, nor has she become “intimidated by the prospect of being a trailblazer or of being a woman in a male-dominated world.”

Roberts even spoke to The New York Times on overcoming obstacles on her way to her current status, saying “‘My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.'”

Although Roberts ascended to her current seat as the head of the NBA Players Association over a year ago, she has recently come back into media attention for her interview with Lenny, a newsletter create by actress Lena Dunham and her Girls producer Jenni Konner.

In her interview, she provides several enlightening responses on a range of topics, one of which was how she learned to not worry about what other people think of her. She said, “I’m not suggesting that you barrel through life willy-nilly, but I am suggesting that we stop trying to allow other people’s potential prejudices, let alone actual prejudices, to paralyze us.”

Perhaps one of the greatest portions of her interview came when she discussed how she pushed past the many obstacles in her life despite her circumstances. “I grew up in the projects, I grew up on welfare. There was no reason in the world for me to think I could do anything other than get a high school diploma,” she said. “I’ll pat myself on the back, I was a phenomenal trial lawyer, very successful, and I would have bet against me [laughs] if I was not me. A little black girl from the South Bronx.”

Thank you, Michele Roberts, for showing us that success is possible no matter how difficult our circumstances may be.

To read the full interview, click here.

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