Voices: Growing My Game

Kaya Williams
Kaya Williams

Since I was young, I had this dream to play basketball in the big league. I would always be excited to go to camps, learn more about basketball and continue to expand my love for the sport. Thankfully, I had a family that was also very open to helping me enjoy what I loved to do, so I would go to Lynx games from the age of 3. 

Since then, I’ve wanted to be like them.

On July 12, I went to a Minnesota Lynx home game. I closely watched their star rookie, Diamond Miller, a player I can relate to. I relate to her youth and leadership. I went to basketball camps, talking to people who also loved the sport. 

Kaya Asking Carley Lynx
ThreeSixty reporter Kaya Williams interviews Carley Knox, Lynx president of business operations, at the Sports Writing Workshop in July 2023.

One of my favorite players was Maya Moore. She was so good, I dreamed of playing on the Lynx ever since watching her play. I began to find myself in basketball camps, trainings and more to grow my game. I loved it and still do. I joined a team with Park Center playing traveling basketball. I met some great people while being there, which helped me continue to love the sport even more. Going to practice was the only thing I looked forward to after school. My mom put me in training early, still learning but getting better at the same time. She instilled in me that even when I was too tired or maybe didn’t feel like going, that now and forever you will need to put in the effort to get where you want to go. She would remind me that at a younger age it may feel like you don’t need to put in a lot of work, because at that stage the game was just for fun and giggles. I wanted to go to the highest point you could get to, though, so she started me early so I wouldn’t have to worry about struggling later on. 

Before I knew it, I was getting older and started to play Amateur Athletic Union and high school basketball. I was in the seventh grade starting AAU and in eighth grade starting high school. I transferred to a better school with a better community and for a better education. I now go to DeLaSalle High School, playing JV/varsity basketball. 

With my time playing I have been looking for certain answers to my questions on things such as, “Why didn’t I do this right?” or “What could I have done better?” I went to a camp with ThreeSixty Journalism and got the chance to not only meet but interview Miller. We went to a press conference and were lucky enough to hear them talk and even got to ask them questions.

Pregame, we were allowed to ask questions, and put out statements to the coach and some other players. During the game while we watched them play, I took notes so I could find ways to improve my game; I paid attention to the way the players did things on the court and how they communicated, passed and moved. Miller, in particular, was great at playmaking. She was great at setting up the play so her teammates could score. She hustled to every place she was supposed to be and had some wonderful spacing.

Even after their tough loss that day, Miller still gave high-fives to everyone. She may not have been smiling or been super happy about the outcome, but she still acknowledged all of her teammates and others around her. During my interview with Miller, she was open to everything I had to say and ask. I asked her questions about the game and about her personally, trying to find ways to better my game. 

I look up to Miller (literally and figuratively), so I was nervous at the start. Miller, though, eased my anxiety. She exuded a sense of humility and calm — qualities I hope to have in my life on and off the court.

This story was produced in partnership with the Minnesota Lynx and Star Tribune Junior Reporter program, which brought five ThreeSixty Journalism students attending the Sports Reporting Workshop students courtside on gameday.