Being the third youngest of eight children, Bobbitt accepted the heroic challenge of making a better life for herself and her family. Faced with life changing obstacles that could have broken any human being physically and mentally, she became a successful African American female who shot up from rough surroundings in New York City. Her passion and love for basketball has helped her mature into a talented player and leader. After overcoming critics, doubters and non-supporters, Bobbitt showed that pressure continues to make diamonds and that dreams are worth chasing. Shannon, a 5'2 lady giant with a heart of the Grand Canyon is a two-time New York City and state champion, junior college All-American, Player Of The Year and Hall Of Famer. Two-time back to back NCAA national champion at University of Tennessee. Bobbitt was selected 15th in the 2008 WNBA draft. Her story is meant to inspire and give hope to all people around the world.
Hi Shannon! Can you please tell us a bit about your book “Bobbitt 5'2 Giant" and the inspiration behind it.
The Bobbitt book is about my basketball and personal life. It speaks about the daily obstacles I had to face everyday whether it was on the court or in the classroom. It is an inspiring story to anyone who is in need of some sort of hope. My book gives a positive outlook on tragedy and turmoil. My book conveys that bad things can happen in life, but it's to you to decide your fate.
In your book you speak a lot about being an undersized baller and at times struggling with your confidence on the court. How can your book help athletes facing similar issues? What are the main things you want young people to take away from your book?
Yes I highlighted my height because I was always the shortest player on the court. But that made my story even more special because I was able to accomplish things that a normal height player couldn’t have accomplished. I want young people to understand that adversity is what builds your character. There will be blocks in the road along your journey, but you just can’t give up, no matter what!
Standing at only 5’2 you have managed to defy so many odds in the basketball world. You’ve had an incredible career and have accomplished so many amazing things! What would you say is the secret to your longevity on the court?
My secrets to my longevity and building a reputation on the court would be my hard work, dedication, confidence and being a sponge to positive advice.
Do you think growing up in the inner city of New York had an impact on your game? What are some of the lessons you learned on the basketball court that apply to your success in life?
Growing up in the inner city has its pros and cons. The positive things that come from growing up as a baller in New York is my style of play and my aggressive personality on the court. I play with a lot of flash in my game, my toughness and my New York mentality makes me not back down from anyone. A lesson I learned as a basketball player from New York City is that life is a struggle and you have to earn what’s yours.
Congratulations on your induction into the NJCAA’s Hall of Fame! What does this induction mean to you, both as a player and as a woman?
Thank you. I appreciate it. It is definitely an honor to be in the Hall of Fame. As a player it showed me that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed and even though I was undersized my height did not prevent me from being successful on the court. As a woman, it is a once in a lifetime achievement! It shows women have come a long way and can fulfill their dreams even when others think its impossible.
Your foundation, “The Shannon Bobbitt foundation,” provides youth with basketball clinics, tournaments, and various other positive activities to keep them off the streets. As a professional athlete, tell us why you believe it is important for you to have a presence in your local community and why it is critical for other professional athletes to show up in their communities.
Yes, I give back to my community every year! I actually look forward to it. It becomes one of the highlights of my summer. I feel that it is very important that you teach and give hope to the younger generations because they are the future. I wanted to do something that wasn’t done for me at that age. I am a person that loves to put smiles on kids faces. I want them to know I’m normal and regular like them. I stress to them how school is number one and education is power. I want them to know if I was able to make it out of the hood they can do it too. As I give back I am able to continue to move forward! It’s kids with struggles in life and I want to help motivate them to reach their goals and dreams in life.
I have to ask, do you have a favorite undersized baller? If so, who? Why?
I don’t have a favorite undersized player. I’m biased to all short players. I say that because as a short player in order for you to be considered a good player you have to have a special skill set. Which in my opinion is much harder to have than to just be tall and good. When I meet people and tell them I am a professional athlete, they don’t believe me because of my height. People automatically think that you have to be tall to play basketball. They then say you must be really good. So I love all short players because I know they have to be good and have to work twice as hard!
What advice would you give an inspiring author reading this interview?
I want to inspire other authors to be confident in their story. Be patient while writing your story. Be proud of becoming an author because that’s an accomplishment as well as an honor.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan is to one day run my own affordable recreational facility for the youth so I can continue to train youth in both basketball and life skills. I want to encourage, inspire and motivate the youth to pursue their dreams in life.
Where can your book be purchased and how can fans stay connected with you?
Fans can stay connected with me by visiting my website www.shannonbobbitt.org or following me on Instagram @Shannonbobbitt00.