January 25, 2022 

Isabelle Harrison is having a different type of offseason

The Mavericks staff has been impressed with what they have seen from Harrison so far

Dallas Wings forward Isabelle Harrison is having an offseason unlike any other that she has had before. She told The Next that she has been having some of the best moments of her life after making the decision not to play overseas.

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For the past 10 years, Harrison has been on the year-round women’s basketball grind. This offseason, she was done missing important moments in her family and friends’ lives. Harrison has 11 siblings and is a huge family person. She said that she should not have to miss experiences like her brother’s wedding because of money.

“It got to the point where the money wasn’t a huge factor for me anymore. It just wasn’t. I think at the end of the day, you can make whatever, but if you sit back and reflect, what have you gained or learned, or achieved? It’s not much,” the six-year veteran said. “Outside of the court, what am I really developing? Am I cultivating more friendships, more experiences, new opportunities? I don’t have that time overseas.”

One of the new opportunities Harrison has pursued this offseason is an apprenticeship with the Dallas Mavericks. The connection was made by the Wings’ Vice President of Marketing, Courtney Oversby, who has a long-standing relationship with Nico Harrison, the Mavericks’ president of basketball operations and general manager, going back to his days with Nike.

Dallas Wings forward Isabelle Harrison working at American Airlines Center. (Photo credit: Dorothy J. Gentry)

As a basketball operations apprentice, the Wings forward gets to learn more about how the business side of basketball works. Every other week, Harrison spends two days with the Mavericks general manager and one day in the offices. It switches each week, to one day with the general manager and two days in the offices. (However, for the past month, the offices have been closed due to COVID-19.)

When in the offices, she has been working alongside Senior Vice President of Mavs Academy, Mavs Gaming and Player Relations Greg Nared; Player Relations Manager Brandon Barkley; and Social Media Manager Becca Genecov.

The Mavericks staff has been impressed with what they have seen from Harrison so far. Barkley said the Wings forward has been fantastic and has done a great job of asking a lot of questions and doing the right things in terms of showing up every day, keeping an open mind and trying to learn.

“What we’re really focusing on with her is meeting with various departments and learning more the overarching of what they do on a day to day basis,” Barkley said. “One major department she’s really has taken a liking to is our social media, and I guess you would call it our digital department. That’s another one that I’d say she had a major part in.”

Harrison is active on a couple of platforms like Instagram and Twitter. During this apprenticeship with the Mavericks, she has learned that there is more that goes into it than just creating posts. There are different types of programs, editing apps, getting clips of games, commentary, quotes and interviews that are needed to maintain a team’s social media platform.

“I just always looked at their social media as really well-tailored. And not any diss towards the WNBA obviously, but we can all learn. Social media is booming right now and I want to use that as a tool for their view,” Harrison said. “I just want to learn more because I just love social media.”

Harrison has been shadowing Genecov on game days. She is learning the live coverage portion of their social space and soaking everything in. Genecov said it has been awesome to see her blossom and that there are a couple of things she hopes Harrison takes away from the apprenticeship.

“I hope she takes away that she’s really creative and that she can really make a difference with her platform by being creative and being innovative like she has been. And that she just continues her drive because it is awesome to see her succeed on the court, but also off the court,” Genecov said.

Harrison was traded to the Dallas Wings in 2017. Since then she has not had much time to explore the Dallas-Forth Worth area. Now, she has been able to spend more time with friends and family. She said one of the most important lessons from her apprenticeship is those connections are important as well as building and valuing those relationships.

“I’m going into my fourth year in Dallas, and I’ve met some of the coolest people who started this internship. Now, I think location is a really big part of that and time. And now I have both it just makes sense that I’m placing myself in the city that I basically got home. I feel very known and influential here and I love that I’m able to make a difference,” Harrison said.

There are not many professional women’s basketball players that get to stay in the U.S. When overseas, players are not able to continue their community outreach. They are not able to continue to build those relationships throughout their communities and organizations that could open up more opportunities after basketball.

“They can go and stay here and do any opportunity that they would love and dream about. We just don’t have this opportunity. I just feel like it really limits us in our impact that we can play in the venue. I just know if more girls or women were able to stay home with their central team market or just home period, they can make more of an influence and use their platform for more,” Harrison said.

For that to happen the six-year veteran said there are going to have to be more investors and changes at the top.

“I’ve always felt, to make these real genuine changes for women underneath me, it needs to start at a very high up position. It has to because it can be opportunities to make them go and do your own thing. But they just need a door. You put women in a position to do well for themselves and they usually do. We just never had the opportunity or people may just not give the chance,” Harrison said.

She did not play overseas, but the off-season has still been a busy one for Harrison. She said staying at home and not doing anything is just not who she is. A new experience for the Dallas Wings forward is her participation in the Athletes Unlimited Basketball’s inaugural season; taking place Jan. 26-Feb. 26. Athletes Unlimited is a player-driven league and they are providing opportunities for women to play professionally in the U.S. It is also an option for WNBA players to remain in the U.S. year-round, like Harrison. She has already made history in the league by becoming the first pick ever.

Harrison said more women should be able to stay home, rest their bodies, work with their trainers and continue to be influential in their communities. They should be able to participate in more programs like she is with the Dallas Mavericks and Athletes Unlimited. Once that inaugural season is over she will finish out her apprenticeship with the Mavericks in April. Then, the Dallas Wings begin their 2022 season at the College Park Center on May 7.

Written by Arie Graham

Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.

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