March 21, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Atlanta Dream’s Kia Vaughn, now in front office, reflects on her career

Howard and Kia Vaughn chat about her WNBA career, coach Vivian Stringer's impact and leadership role

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Howard Megdal and Atlanta Dream’s Kia Vaughn, now in the front office reflecting on her career. A WNBA tenure is remarkable and just the beginning.

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Kia Vaughn talks about her legacy in the WNBA and journey as a leader:

“It makes me feel really good. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those players who got the accolades and night in and night out the consistent number that I would have loved and show up every day. But the impact that I had on the players around me and the staff around me and being a part of some of the great teams that I was on. Liberty, the Mystics, Phoenix, Atlanta and they all feel the same way about me. It really makes me proud. And actually, it brings so many emotions because I only moved in an organic way, being naturally a caregiver, a loving person, and a natural leader because of all my siblings.

And it was a bittersweet thing that I actually had to grow faster than I would have liked growing up. But it helped me with being an adult; I understood like people are following you. You always have to lead by example, no matter the outcome, and continue to be yourself and that paid off. And it allowed me to be in the league for as long as I was; there was other things that I was trying to tackle. That became the thing about me and why people wanted me around. So it makes me feel good. I know it makes my mom proud. It makes me proud. And you can’t buy this. You can’t teach this. You can’t buy it.”

Kia Vaughn talks about coach Vivian Stringer’s impact on the basketball community:

“Coach Stringer, first of all, she’s an amazing woman, she’s an amazing coach, and her impact on the women’s game will live on forever and ever and ever. We all appreciate her; she’s given us a piece of who she is. So all of her players from Cheyney to Rutgers. It’s sad to see for the basketball community for her to leave the game. But as the person who knew her as Vivian Stringer and being a mom and just being a person, she needed this time away to be with her family. And I believe to live out, whatever she can, in a positive and more stressless way because I know basketball brings a lot of stress to her. And I think that her being with her family, her kids especially, it’s going to be amazing for her as of right now within the end of basketball for her.”

“I know with me personally playing under her, it wasn’t always easy, I can say that. But at this age, I looked back at it and it was actually appreciate it because she taught me how to be a woman. And it wasn’t so much about being a player, just the things that I thought were not basketball related or insane during the time.

I can see where her thought process and was going and like what she was expecting to get out of us. With just how your hair looks and just the simple things, how you eat, how you carry yourself, how you walk when you enter a room, just taking up space, allowing people to see you for who you are, always demanding what you deserve, and wanting more and never taken less than you deserve. And it just moving gracefully. That’s just how she moves; she moves real gracefully. And I think that part of her is what i possess. So I’m thankful for that because I watched her as much as I didn’t understand it, then I understand it way more now at this age.”


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