Life reportedly begins at 40, but it’ll be a new life for Katie Smith, who recently retired after many achievements including being the career leading scorer in women’s professional basketball history.
Name an honor in women’s basketball, and Smith, who will observe her 40th birthday anniversary next June, probably could say, “Been there, done that.”
For a person who began to play basketball at the age of 5, Katie has come a long way. For one thing, she made more three-pointers than any other woman.
Named the Gatorade National Player of the Year while attending Logan (Ohio) High School, she guided the school to the Ohio Division I state championship game.
A four-year starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes women’s team, she broke the Big Ten’s all-time scoring record, male or female, and was voted the conference MVP as a senior.
Katie became the first woman whose number was retired by OSU, and she also is in the Varsity O Hall of Fame.
She helped the United States win gold medals in three Olympic Games as well as the 1998 and 2002 World Championships. She also earned titles while playing for the Columbus Quest.
The OSU graduate helped to establish the WNBA and won a WNBA scoring title in 2001.
In 2006, she became the first player to win the WNBA All-Star game as a member of the Eastern and Western Conference Teams and is the only player to wear ABL and WNBA championship rings.
Named the 2008 WNVA Finals MVP, she was named one of the Top 15 players in the WNBA’s 15-year history as a result of fans’ voting.
When interviewed by Kim North of The Times Leader last year in Belmont County, Katie attributed her success to her parents, first of all, “for giving me some good genes to work with. Secondly, all the hard work and attention to detail … there is no substitute for hard work.”
In interviews, she has mentioned how she enjoyed meeting people and her many great experiences because of basketball.
Now in her final year of working on her master’s degree in dietary science, she also may join the coaching staff of WNBA’s New York Liberty.
In the coming years, she’ll undoubtedly take a place in Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.