Center for Multicultural Initiatives

WNBA MVP, Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Leslie to keynote annual Keeper of the Dream Awards

Celebration takes place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 20, 2020 at Oakland University

icon of a calendarNovember 19, 2019

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WNBA MVP, Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Leslie to keynote annual Keeper of the Dream Awards
Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie

Oakland University will welcome three-time WNBA MVP, four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie as the keynote speaker for its annual Keeper of the Dream Awards Celebration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 20, 2020.

“I am very excited and looking forward to having Lisa Leslie on our campus” said Omar Brown-El, senior director of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives at Oakland University. “The Keeper of the Dream event honors and recognizes leaders in our community and Ms. Leslie is a Hall of Famer and an Olympic Gold Medalist who definitely has displayed strong leadership and dedication to the community.”

Before becoming the most-recognized player in the WNBA, Leslie attended Morningside High School in Inglewood, Calif., where she led the team to two state championships. In college at the University of Southern California, she was the all-time Pac-10 leader in points, rebounds, and blocked shots.

After college, Leslie launched her modeling career, signing with the prestigious Wilhelmina Agency in 1996. She was also a member of the gold-winning U.S. Olympic teams in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008; and is the first team sport athlete to win four consecutive Olympic Gold Medals.

In 2001, Leslie was the first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season. That same year, she also led the Los Angeles Sparks to their first WNBA Championship.

In 2002, she became the WNBA all-time leading scorer and was named MVP of the regular season for the second year in a row. She also led the Los Angeles Sparks to back-to-back championships and would go on to win her third MVP trophy of the WNBA in 2006.

Leslie sat out the 2007 WNBA season as she and her husband, Air Force Academy graduate and UPS Pilot Michael Lockwood, welcomed their baby, Lauren, into the world. She joined the U.S. team that spring and won her fourth Olympic Gold Medal as she retired from the Olympics.

In 2009, Leslie announced her retirement from the WNBA as she played her last season in front of her family, friends and fans.

After welcoming her second baby, son MJ, Leslie became co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks — a professional franchise in the WNBA. In 2013, she joined her husband, Michael, and became a UPSer, being named the UPS brand ambassador while sitting on the advisory board for Capital One for five years.

In her off-season, Leslie received her Master’s in Business and became an author, releasing her first book, “Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You,” in which she points the spotlight onto her remarkable life off the court, where being a confident champion was not always simple.

In addition, Leslie became a commentator for ESPN in 2004, covering the NCAA Women’s Tournament, and had the privilege of covering the 2012 Olympics for NBC. Currently, she’s an in-studio co-host of CBS first all -female sports talk show, “We Need to Talk.”

In 2016 she wrote her second book, “From the Court to the Boardroom,” which inspires athletes to use their mental approach to the game and team work in business.

Leslie began her acting career taking drama classes in both high school and college. She made several cameo appearances on top television shows such as Martin, Sister Sister, Moesha and One on One. She also hit the big screen in Love & Basketball, Think Like A Man!, Uncle Drew.

Also known for her philanthropic endeavors, Leslie has been summoned to the White House on several occasions to meet with Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

About Keeper of the Dream

Established in 1993, The Keeper of the Dream Awards Celebration pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his pioneering work on behalf of civil rights. The event also awards scholarships to OU undergraduates who have contributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by breaking down racial and cultural barriers.

This year’s event is sponsored by Oakland University Credit Union, Autoliv, Flagstar Bank, Willis Towers Watson, Meritor, OU Alumni Association, Marshall Family Scholar Foundation, Lynne and Lia McIntosh Scholarship, KeyBank, and Saint Joseph Mercy Health Systems Oakland.

For additional information, contact the Center for Multicultural Initiatives at cmi@oakland.edu or (248) 370-4404

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