WNBA LA Sparks Family Helps to Create Peace Through Basketball

Coach Eddie (left) and Alana share a love of basketball and a commitment to using the game to make the world a better place.

By: Edniesha Curry

This week I decided to write about our program in Jaffa, as a part of which we had the pleasure of inspiring 300 kids at a special workshop we did in the mixed Arab-Jewish town. I was the lead instructor for that event, so that allowed me to reach out to all my professional basketball friends who have a passion for helping kids and believe in what PeacePlayers stands for. This week I had the privilege of working alongside Alana Beard, WNBA All-Star and USA national team member, who started her WNBA career with the

Alana in uniform.

Washington Mystics but is now moving to my hometown where she will play for my former WNBA team, the Los Angeles Sparks, for the 2012 season (after spending the last season playing for Elitzur Ramle in Israel). Alana’s passion for kids was evident in the energy she brought to the event. After the day was over, I took the opportunity to ask Alana about her first experience with PeacePlayers International – Middle East. I hope you enjoy getting to know Alana Beard.

Coach Eddie: How was your experience working with PPI – ME?

Alana: It was an experience of a lifetime that I was fortunate to be a part of. It amazes me how one sport can bring a nation together for the bigger picture, which is PEACE! It is a heartwarming experience.

Coach Eddie: What does it mean to reach out and help kids in communities?

Alana: I have always wanted to give young kids and the community the things I never had growing up. I have this urge to want to make things easy for our youth because their lives revolve around endless possibilities! The fact that I have the opportunity to do it internationally is A-MAZING. I’m touching lives all over and that, in my mind, is what it is about!

Eddie in action during her WNBA days.

Coach Eddie: Why do you think basketball can help with peace in the Jewish and Arab communities?

Alana: I think it can help because between the lines of a basketball court, it is just basketball. It proves we are all the same. We run the same, shoot the same, breathe the same and have fun the same… the only difference is, we are doing it TOGETHER.

Coach Eddie: The PPI kids here will want to know what’s happening with you. How can they follow what you’re up to throughout the summer while you are playing in the WNBA?

Alana: They can go to www.alanabeard.com to see everything I am doing while in America.

Coach Eddie: As we end this, is there anything that you want to say to the PPI-ME kids?

Alana: When they say I can’t… [it should be] I WILL. Challenge yourselves to be different in a positive way and never stop acting on your dreams! If you want it, go get it…nothing, and I mean nothing is unreachable!”

"We run the same, shoot the same, breathe the same and have fun the same…the only difference is, we are doing it TOGETHER."

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