Allisha Gray is back from the Tokyo Olympics where she and Team USA made history, and the Dallas Wings basketball star feels on top of the world.
The Americans took the lead in the gold medal game of the new Olympic sport of basketball 3 on 3 and held 18-15 against the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee.
On Wednesday afternoon, the iconic Reunion Tower in Dallas gave the gold medalist a fitting welcome – a tour of the tower’s GeO-Deck with her teammates and friends.
“Allisha, she works hard and she deserves it,” Wings best friend and forward Kayla Thornton said. “What she goes through, the time she spends in the gym. I’m so proud of her.
Hard work and sacrifice paid off for the small-town Georgia native.
“It’s something, a life goal that I achieved,” Gray said looking down at his medal. “I mean, it’s like a real gold medal.”
Gray said the medal is heavy. She plans to show her family and frame it.
“My parents, they always had big dreams for me, so when I told my parents I had a dream, they were fully supportive of whatever I decided to do,” she said. declared. “I’ll be here all day talking about their sacrifice.”
Wings head coach Vickie Johnson is proud of Gray and believes the Olympic victory will boost her confidence on the hardwood.
“The sacrifices she’s made to be on 3-on-3 is incredible,” Johnson said.
Johnson was scheduled to join the 5-on-5 Women’s National Team coaching staff, but contracted COVID-19 in April.
“I suffered a lot of side effects, so when I had the opportunity to go to Tokyo, I decided not to because I’m still struggling with the side effects of COVID,” she said.
For Gray, the biggest challenge of the Tokyo Olympics wasn’t being without fans or family. It was the humidity.
“It was very hot outside, you had to adapt to the humidity,” she laughed. “In some games the sun was right on the goal. It was difficult to shoot. I remember once when I was shooting a jump shot, I literally yelled, “I can’t see”.
Reunion Tower lit up a handful of times during the Tokyo Olympics – once for every gold medalist with North Texas ties, including Gray.
“All for my little old man,” Gray said. “That was pretty cool, definitely an honor. Reunion Tower is a big deal in Dallas, so for them to light it up specifically for me, thank you.
Attention now turns to the second half of the season. The Wings are hoping to make the WNBA playoffs, and Gray has a message for little girls with their own hoop oars.
“Keep dreaming big,” she said. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish anything. You are master of your own destiny.