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Skylar Diggins

The Dallas Wings point guard has an insane pregame tradition and would love to spend a day in Serena Williams’ shoes

While 2016 turned out to be a tough year, Skylar Diggins chose to shine as brightly as possible and embrace all the good karma that came her way. In March, the former Tulsa Shock guard signed a contract extension with the Dallas Wings that will keep her with the team until 2019. Three months later, Diggins gleefully announced her engagement to longtime beau and former Notre Dame wide receiver Daniel Smith. In July, the couple teamed up to create a children’s book about Diggins’ childhood, The Middle School Rules of Skylar Diggins (BroadStreet Publishing), with Smith handling the illustrations.

In November, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Allstate Insurance Co. announced that Diggins would be part of the panel of former student-athletes and media members that will select the 2017 Allstate WBCA and NABC Good Works Teams. The Good Works Teams, which began in 2013, honors college basketball players for their service in their communities. The final roster of 20 award recipients will be announced in February. “What I really appreciate about this award is that it’s not just about what you do on the floor,” Diggins said. “But it’s what you do off the floor. I admire what these young ladies do because I know how hard it is to do it.”

When she doesn’t have her hands full with her WNBA career or planning her wedding, you can catch the 26-year-old Indiana native bowling, handling folks in a game of tic-tac-toe and scrolling Instagram for her next do-it-yourself project.

On what social media platform are you most active?

I’d probably say Instagram. I love following The Ellen [DeGeneres) Show. She’s hilarious. Kevin Hart. And I have to scroll through the different do-it-yourself [DIY] and health and fitness pages. I like DIYs and new meals, so I follow a lot of [those]. Also, on the explore page, they have makeup tutorials. It’s like fitness, fashion and comedy. And music. That’s probably the majority of my follows.

What’s your most frequently used emoji?

I use 🙌 . I’ll put it up for like ‘Yasss!’ or put it up for Roc Nation. If my mom says she cooked us something, I’ll put the hands up, like, ‘Yasss! I’m coming right over.’

“I can get you in tic-tac-toe. I know how to reel ’em in.”

What question are you asked most by fans?

When did I start playing basketball. And what would I be doing if I didn’t play. I get that one, too.

What are your responses?

For the first one, I’d say I was about 5 or 6 years old and it was in a YMCA league. I always tell the kids that I played on an all-boys squad. They never passed me the rock until one time when I got it, I think I fumbled it and I picked it up, took off and scored. I never had to worry about that again. But I always like to tell that story about playing with all guys. Luckily for me, the offseason gives me a lot of time to work on other things that I’m interested in and passionate about. I’m a businesswoman at heart, so I think I’d be doing a lot of the same things I’m doing close to and around the game, but just not playing.

What’s your current fashion obsession?

Dresses and chokers. And leather, too.

What’s the last show you binged through?

Insecure [HBO]. I was sad as I was watching the final episode. I’m looking forward to season two.

What’s a game you play competitively other than basketball?

Being from the Midwest, we bowl. There’s something fun about bowling. I do really good or really bad. There’s never an in-between in bowling, but I love to bowl.

“My mom definitely had the courage to do what she was passionate about and make her decisions and be a strong role model, so that was the example I had.”

What will you always be the champion of?

That’s a good question. I like board games. Connect Four. I can get you in tic-tac-toe. I know how to reel ’em in.

Which pro athlete would you never want to trade places with?

I don’t know how to answer that! I don’t want to touch any nerves there. But if I had to say one that I would love to see what a day was like in their sport, in their lives, it would be Serena [Williams].

Do you have any game-day superstitions or traditions?

I take a lot of showers. I don’t know what it is. I have to get up in the morning and take a shower, after shootaround, take a shower. After the game, obviously after the game. I shower a lot on game day. I don’t know why. But I’m not super, super superstitious. And I make sure I have music around me. I like vibing out on game day.

What is the worst purchase you ever made?

I’m embarrassed to say this. I was in a rush and I wanted these shoes. I’m not going to say how much they were, but they were high-end shoes and I just hurried up and got them. I didn’t really try them on. I got back, it was too late. The shoe was too small, too tight on me, so it didn’t fit and it was too late to return them. So one of my friends got designer shoes. It wasn’t a gift I planned on giving. That’s why you gotta try everything on before you get home.

“Who doesn’t like Zendaya?”

Who would you want to play you in your biopic?

I’d probably say Zendaya. I like Zendaya. Who doesn’t like Zendaya? I think she’s dope, I think she’s a cool chick. Plus, I like her steelo. I like how she carries herself.

What is one thing you did in the past year that you never thought you’d do?

I visited two different places I’d never been to. I went to Shanghai, and I went to Taipei. I got to go out there and do basketball camps. That was really dope. It was the first time Nike basketball took a woman athlete out there to do camps. And [I’m] getting married! Obviously that was a surprise, getting engaged and having to plan for a wedding. It’s been a busy year!

Where does your courage come from?

My mom, because of her strength. She’s really encouraged me to have the audacity to go after my dreams no matter what people may say or think about me. And I’m doing the right thing just to stay focused. She definitely had the courage to do what she was passionate about and make her decisions and be a strong role model, so that was the example I had.

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.