December 3, 2022

Baird is a lesbian on the outside, proud, but she realizes, for some, “I pass as a straight woman.” Noting that she’s also white, she continued, “She’s small, and therefore, not intimidating, compared to Ciel, who’s black, dark-skinned, and of a certain stature, yes, that plays here 100 percent.”

Fowles admitted this, but doesn’t seem to be in a good mood to dissect it.

“You think you’re supposed to do everything right, and then when you do everything right, you’ll notice,” she said. “But for multiple reasons, that’s not the case.”

Fowles’ voice was delayed.

“Why do I have to work twice as hard to be noticed?”

She wished for a better future: that future generations of greats like her would be better known, and that the WNBA would find a way to promote all of her players. “Eighty percent of us are black women, and you have to figure out how to market these black women,” she said. “I don’t think we do that well.”

Fowles has done all she can to pave the way for those changes. It has performed in a way that stands the test of time. “I’m proud of myself for being the same person from 2008 to 2022,” she said. “I am not an easy task. I am a leader, not a follower. I stand and talk about the things I believe in.”

In her final season, she played coach on the field for the young and struggling Lynx, averaging nearly 15 points and about 10 rebounds per game through Sunday’s 81-71 Minnesota win over Atlanta.

The fight for respect will now fall to the rest of the players as Fowles embarks on a career that perfectly matches the character of a bird described as motherly.

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