Tif­fany Bias pur­sues mul­ti­ple dreams

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - Adam Kemp akemp@ ok­la­homan.com

Af­ter star­ing at Ok­la­homa State and play­ing in the WNBA, Tif­fany Bias leaves next week to start a sea­son in Dubai. She is also an as­pir­ing fash­ion model, ap­pear­ing in sev­eral mag­a­zines.

Tif­fany Bias started nearly ev­ery game dur­ing her four years at Ok­la­homa State. From 2010 to 2014 she racked up more than 1,600 points, 295 steals and nearly 800 as­sists as she helped the Cow­girls win an NIT cham­pi­onship and make two NCAA Tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances. Since her ca­reer at OSU, Bias won a WNBA ti­tle with the Phoenix Mer­cury and con­tin­ues to play over­seas and in the new mixed-gen­der league started by rap­per and busi­ness­man Percy "Mas­ter P" Miller. Bias leaves next week to start a sea­son in Dubai in the United Arab Emi­rates. She is also an as­pir­ing fash­ion model, ap­pear­ing in sev­eral mag­a­zines.

My ear­li­est bas­ket­ball mem­ory is play­ing with my dad. He was al­ways se­ri­ous about get­ting me ready to play bas­ket­ball. My dad had me in weighted pants and shirts to build mus­cle and help with stamina from when I was lit­tle. I think at first, es­pe­cially be­ing a teen, I didn't get why he was al­ways push­ing me so hard but now I am so thank­ful for the way he pushed me back then. He’s driven me to be the per­son and player I am.

I started to re­al­ize I was maybe some­thing dif­fer­ent when I started play­ing sum­mer ball in early high school. When things started to get se­ri­ous and the level of play turned up you start to see how good you are. You fig­ure out what it’s all about and you build bonds with team­mates andyou can see how you de­velop and get bet­ter against really good com­pe­ti­tion. When I started hold­ing my own against older girls that's when it kinda clicked for me that 'Oh ok, I might have a fu­ture in this.'

My great­est foe in col­lege was Odyssey Sims from Bay­lor. We went back and forth on each other for our en­tire col­lege ca­reers and it was al­ways an in­cred­i­ble bat­tle that I think really brought out the best in both of us. I think my big­gest foe since col­lege is my place in the WNBA. I haven’t been able to show ev­ery­thing I could be in the WNBA. I had a great col­lege ca­reer but to have a chance to show­case my­self at the next level has been a strug­gle. But I keep try­ing to over­come that and show peo­ple what I'm all about.

I com­mit­ted to Ok­la­homa State as a sopho­more in high school and coach (Kurt) Budke was a big rea­son why. He taught me a lot in a year and half be­fore he passed about be­ing men­tally strong. Coach Budke knew I was a leader and taught me how to lead in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion and how to take charge and speak your mind. I was really young and I started all four years. Hav­ing seniors look to you as a leader was weird at first but he knew I could han­dle it.

My worst mo­ment and my proud­est mo­ment go hand in hand. My sopho­more sea­son af­ter Coach Budke and coach (Mi­randa) Serna died was the worst mo­ment in my life. Those two peo­ple meant so much to me.The way they helped guide me through life and loved me and showed me how much they cared through their ac­tions... los­ing them was just dev­as­tat­ing. But also the way I and my team­mates han­dled their pass­ing is some­thing I still draw from to this day. To ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing that tragic and that young, I feel like I han­dled that to the best of my abil­ity and I'm really proud of that.

Bas­ket­ball really help me men­tally. Af­ter their pass­ing we really just be­came such a tighter and closer unit and really bonded to­gether and just hid our­selves within the game. Play­ing bas­ket­ball was a big part of get­ting back to nor­mal in a way. While ev­ery­thing was sad and we were hurt­ing, bas­ket­ball was still this thing we all loved to play.

My first time in front of a cam­era was af­ter my rookie sea­son. I’ve al­ways wanted to model and I’ve al­ways wanted to come out with my own fash­ion line. I never had the time to model grow­ing up so hav­ing some free time af­ter the sea­son it was nice to do some things out­side of bas­ket­ball. I am def­i­nitely get­ting into the busi­ness and it’s a big tran­si­tion but I think I can take bas­ket­ball into this with me. You gotta be a go-get­ter and you can’t be afraid. Lots of peo­ple try­ing to tell you you can't do it or you won't make it but that makes me go harder.

For a model I’m not su­per

skinny. I’m mus­cu­lar and

I'm toned and that’s not al­ways what they are look­ing for. It's all about try­ing to find the right de­signer and really flash­ing that con­fi­dence. Con­fi­dence shines through and kinda shows that you know that you are good enough. It's a dif­fer­ent feel­ing be­ing in front of a cam­era. It's like learn­ing a new sport or drib­bling a bas­ket­ball for the first time.

Bas­ket­ball is def­i­nitely a job once you get to this level. It’s al­ways been a dream and I feel for­tu­nate to still be play­ing but it can def­i­nitely be hard pack­ing up and go­ing over­seas to play. My rookie sea­son I went to Hun­gary and this past year I went to Is­rael. In the WNBA that’s just what you do. Dur­ing your off­sea­son you stay in shape by go­ing over­seas. It sucks that we get paid more over­seas than in the states but we all have fam­i­lies to feed and we all want to con­tinue play­ing the sport we love. Girls can play with guys,

we do it all the time in rec league. That's what at­tracted me most to the Global Mixed Gen­der Bas­ket­ball League. WNBA play­ers, former NBA play­ers, street ballers, they are all there play­ing to­gether and ev­ery­one is get­ting paid the same. I think it's really cool to be apart of that and hope­fully it's some­thing that keep catch­ing on.

[AP PHOTO]

Former Ok­la­homa State star Tif­fany Bias spent three sea­sons in the WNBA, last with the Dal­las Wings in 2016.

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