It seems like yesterday when Erica Wheeler scored a game-high 25 points to lead Team Wilson to a win in the 2019 All-Star game and became the first undrafted player to win All-Star MVP in league history.
Since then, her story has become an inspiration to people around the world, and on Wednesday afternoon, Wheeler shared her story to hundreds of kids at a Coaches 4 Character event held at Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
It was there, she shared how she lost her mother before her senior year at Rutgers University, and how despite her grief, she fulfilled her promise to her mother and graduated with a degree in Labor Studies. Furthermore, how despite not receiving an invitation to a WNBA training camp, she paved her way into the league. A journey that took her to Puerto Rico to play for $200 per week, and how that decision, along with her hard work, led her from playing overseas to a mainstay in the WNBA.
“One thing that’s stuck with me is never let anyone give you anything, work for it,” Wheeler told IndependentMail.com. “When you work for it, no one can hang it over your head.”
“You don’t have to walk through the front door,” Wheeler continued. “The dream that you’re dreaming can be accomplished, just stick to it and not care about a door being closed in your face.”
Since joining the Indiana Fever in 2016, Wheeler has become a fan favorite, not only in Indiana, but across the globe, and at Wednesday’s event, she gained a few hundred more.
Because she is Erica Wheeler. As a basketball player, she is amazing to watch and cheer for, but as a person she is even more amazing to get to know. In addition to sharing her story to inspire others, Wheeler has also given scholarships, held basketball camps, fed the homeless and sponsored three single-mother families by paying a bill of their choice each month through her Wheeler Kids Foundation.
She is not only inspiring others; she is changing their lives.
“I made a choice, I think everyone can make a choice to be whatever they want to be,” Wheeler said. “We all can make that choice and when you do, anything is possible.”