Happy Birthday Rebecca Lobo-Rushin!
A Fierce Latina On and Off Court
Born: October 6, 1973 (age 42)
Listed height: 6 ft 4 in
High school: Southwick-Tolland (Southwick, Massachusetts)
College: Connecticut (1991–1995)
WNBA draft: 1997 / Allocated
Selected by the New York Liberty
Playing career: 1997–2003
1997–2001: New York Liberty
2002: Houston Comets
2003: Connecticut Sun
Career highlights and awards:
WNBA All-Star (1999)
All-WNBA Second Team (1997)
NCAA champion (1995)
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
Medals: Representing the United States
Olympic Games: Gold medal – first place, Atlanta 1996 Team competition
U18 and U19: Silver medal – second place, 1992 U18 Guanajuato Team Competition
Rebecca Rose Lobo-Rushin (born October 6, 1973) is an American television basketball analyst and former women’s basketball player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) from 1997 to 2003. Lobo, at 6’4″, played the center position for much of her career. Lobo played college basketball at the University of Connecticut, where she was a member of the team that won the 1995 national championship, going 35–0 on the season in the process.
Early Life and High School Career
Rebecca Lobo was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the youngest daughter of RuthAnn (née McLaughlin) and Dennis Joseph Lobo. Her father is of Cuban, Spanish, Polish (Catholic) and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, while her mother was of German and Irish heritage. Lobo was raised a Catholic. Her brother Jason played basketball at Dartmouth College and her sister Rachel played basketball at Salem State College. Both her parents were teachers; in addition, her father was a basketball coach. Raised in Southwick, Massachusetts, Lobo was the state scoring record-holder with 2,740 points in her high school career for Southwick-Tolland Regional High School in Massachusetts. She held this record for 18 years until it was eclipsed by Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir of the new Leadership Charter School in Springfield on January 26, 2009.
More than 100 colleges recruited Rebecca Lobo, but she chose the University of Connecticut due to proximity and her belief in its academic excellence. She helped lead the Huskies to the 1995 National Championship with an undefeated 35-0 record. In her senior year, she won the 1995 Naismith and College Player of the Year award. Lobo was awarded the prestigious Honda-Broderick Cup for 1994-95, presented to the athlete “most deserving of recognition as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year”. She was a member of the inaugural class of inductees to the University of Connecticut women’s basketball “Huskies of Honor” recognition program. Lobo was named the 1995 Sportswoman of the Year (in the team category) by the Women’s Sports Foundation. Lobo was the first player in the Big East Conference ever to earn first team all American honors for both basketball and academics
Rebecca Lobo was named to the USA U18 team (then called the Junior World Championship Qualifying Team) in 1992. The team competed in Guanajuato, Mexico in August 1992. The team won their first four games, then lost 80–70 to Brazil, finishing with the silver medal for the event, but qualifying for the 1993 world games. Lobo averaged 6.8 points per game during the event.
Lobo continued with the team to the 1993 U19 World Championship (then called the Junior World Championship). The team won five games and lost two, but that left them in seventh place. Lobo averaged 7.7 points per game and recorded six blocks, highest on the team.
In 1995 Rebecca Lobo passed through tryouts to join the national team, which later became the US team for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA. Though her minutes on the floor were few, Lobo shared in the gold medal. In 1997, the WNBA was formed and enjoyed its inaugural season, and Lobo was assigned to the New York Liberty during the league’s first player allocations on January 22, 1997. The first season the Liberty fell to the Houston Comets in the WNBA Finals. Lobo suffered a setback in 1999, tearing her left anterior cruciate ligament and her meniscus in the first game of the season. In 1999, she was selected to the inaugural WNBA All Star team but could not play because of the injury. In 2002 she was traded to the Houston Comets in exchange for Houston’s second-round selection (26th overall) in the 2002 WNBA Draft. The next season she was traded to the Connecticut Sun, where she retired in 2003. Lobo also played two seasons in the National Women’s Basketball league with the Springfield Spirit 2002 through 2003.
Today, Lobo is seen as a reporter and color analyst for ESPN with a focus on women’s college basketball and WNBA games.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
Rebecca Lobo was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2010.
At the induction ceremony, Lobo was introduced by her college coach, Geno Auriemma who said, in part:
“No one in all the years that I’ve been there, has had the impact on the court and off the court, that Rebecca has had and has continued both in the WNBA, as being one of the founders, both as a representative of our university, as a member of the board of trustees, continuing to promote the game on ESPN, and all the other things that Rebecca has done to further the role model that she is, for all the young people that looked up to her, emulated what she has always been, a great student, a great athlete, a great person, someone that I’ve cherished to have had the opportunity to work with, and to call my friend, and now to call my boss.”
— Geno Auriemma
Rebecca Lobo talked about touring the museum and seeing the exhibit of the All American Red Heads Team. She talked about the influence of her grandmothers on her life, her parents, and others who helped her with her career. Then she related an anecdote about her daughter, epitomizing how things have changed for women in the sports world:
“But two years ago, a year and a half ago, my oldest daughter, who was 4 ½, and my husband was watching UConn men, playing on the television in the living room, and my daughter walked in the room and looked at the TV and said to Steve, “Are those boys playing?”
And I said, “yes”.
And my daughter said, “I didn’t know boys played basketball”.”
— Rebecca Lobo
Family and Personal Life
On April 12, 2003, Rebecca changed her last name from Lobo to Lobo-Rushin after marrying Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. They have four children (3 daughters and 1 son). In Steve Rushin’s words: “The first words Rebecca Lobo ever spoke to me when we met in a Manhattan bar in 2001 were: ‘Aren’t you the guy who just mocked women’s basketball in Sports Illustrated?’ I blushed, broke out in a flop sweat and said, ‘Yes.’ A few weeks earlier, I had written that although Wilt Chamberlain claimed to have slept with 20,000 women in his lifetime, I had once slept with 7,138 women in a single night: We were all snoring in the stands at a WNBA game. It was an appalling line, and I was eager to change the subject, but Lobo wouldn’t let it go. ‘We get 15,000 fans at Madison Square Garden,’ she said. ‘How many women’s games have you ever been to, anyway?’ Hanging my head in shame, I admitted that I had never attended a women’s basketball game before ridiculing it in a national magazine. So she invited me to one of her New York Liberty games, I accepted, and 23 months later we were married.”
Breast Cancer Advocate and Health Spokesperson
In 1996, Rebecca Lobo and her late mother, Ruth Ann Lobo, collaborated on a book entitled The Home Team, which dealt with Ruth Ann’s battle with breast cancer. They also founded the RuthAnn and Rebecca Lobo Scholarship, which offers a scholarship to the UConn School of Allied Health for Hispanic students.
Rebecca was the 1996 spokesperson for the Lee National Denim Day fund raiser which raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research and education.
Starting in 2000, Lobo served as national spokesperson and backer for Body1.com, a consumer-targeted network of sites providing interactive content-rich information on medical technologies that treat ailments and diseases specific to body parts. Due to her recurring problems with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, (ACL), she campaigned to raise awareness of knee injury risks in women. Lobo shared her story with others suffering from the same type of injury and strongly advocated for patient self-education via the Internet.
Awards and Honors
1994—Kodak First team All-America
1994—Honda Sports Award, basketball
1995—ESPY Award–Outstanding Female Athlete
1995—AP Female Athlete of the Year
1995—NCAA Women’s Basketball Player of the Year
1995—Women’s Sports Foundation–Sportswoman of the Year
1995—Kodak First team All-America
1995—Honda Sports Award, basketball
1997—All WNBA Second team
1997—WNBA Eastern All-Star team
2010—Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
Reposted from Wikipedia