As third overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, Skylar Diggins-Smith has certainly made her mark in her five-year professional basketball career. Consistently described as a ‘winner’ by coaches and fellow players, the four-time All-Star is known for her work ethic, competitive nature and dedication to perfecting her craft.
Also an accomplished business woman and Puma model unafraid to speak out against the pervasive gender pay gap and other social justice issues, Diggins-Smith knows the value of creating opportunities off the court, which includes taking an active role in her community and giving back to the sport that has given her so much.
At the end of last season, the WNBA honored Diggins-Smith with the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award, given annually to the WNBA player who shows exemplary dedication to charitable efforts in her community while reflecting the spirit, leadership and love for the game embodied by Staley, Hall of Fame player and head coach of the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team.
“Skylar understands the importance of empowering youth to reach their full potential,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders. “A deep commitment to the community helps make her an exceptional ambassador for our game.”
Starting in first grade, Diggins-Smith became a regular at her hometown Boys & Girls Club in Indiana, hanging out with friends and playing basketball every day. Exposed to the benefits of youth sports programs from a young age, Diggins-Smith continues to foster her passion for mentoring young people.
Since graduating from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in 2013 and entering the WNBA, Diggins-Smith has also become a regular at her local Boys & Girls Club in Dallas, albeit in a new way. Now a guard for the Dallas Wings, Diggins-Smith can be found coaching basketball teams, mentoring youth and holding surprise movie screenings for the kids.
“My passion to be involved in the community comes from my parents and my stepdad,” said Diggins-Smith. “They were always so involved. Through them, I learned the importance of being outgoing and giving back.”
In 2017, Allstate named Diggins-Smith the national ambassador for its WBCA Good Works Team, a program that recognizes women’s college basketball players who demonstrate exceptional commitment to community service. Experiencing first-hand what it takes to be a successful student-athlete, Diggins-Smith jumped at the chance to highlight student-athletes who go above and beyond off the court.
Diggins-Smith also founded her own program called Skylar’s Scholars, designed to reward academic achievements of students who overcome challenges in school. After gaining inspiration from a young fan who promised her that he would work hard to improve his grades, she felt compelled to create a platform to recognize student success. Additionally, Diggins-Smith created the Shoot 4 the Sky camp, which tours around the U.S. providing girls and boys a positive basketball experience as they learn skills from the best in the game.
A shining star both on and off the court, Skylar Diggins-Smith continues to use her platform for good. She remains an exceptional role model not only for young kids, but for other professional athletes too, providing a stellar example of how to use one’s esteemed position to better the world.
Learn more about Skylar’s Scholars and how to nominate a student HERE.