No. 1 Pick Kelsey Plum Talks Sexism, Launching T-Shirts & Beating Markelle Fultz

Kelsey Plum is much more than a viral video (or even two). In her 22 years, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft has already won a gold medal with the USA Basketball women’s under-19 team, led the Washington Huskies to three NCAA tournament appearances and very casually broken the NCAA women’s single-season scoring record (1,109 points, beating both male and female predecessors). Last season, she also set the NCAA record for career scoring in women’s basketball with 3,527 points, just 140 shy of all-around record holder “Pistol” Pete Maravich. Her shooting technique has been compared to those of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

Aside from being a bona fide star on the court, Plum represents a generation of women in basketball who are defying stereotypes by ignoring them. She can hang with the guys (during her last year at UW she grew close to probable fellow No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, and her time there meant occasional games of pickup with Boston Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas and former NBA dunk champion Nate Robinson), but she’s an unrepentant advocate for women in sports, supporting the U.S. women’s hockey team in its strike earlier this year and telling the press repeatedly that comparisons to men are nice, but there are plenty of women she admires as much or more.

Plum spoke with Bleacher Report ahead of her WNBA debut with the San Antonio Stars on Saturday about going pro, bringing new fans to women’s basketball and, of course, how she got a T-shirt cannon for an arm.

B/R: With all the stuff you’ve had going on—going No. 1 in the draft, breaking the NCAA scoring record, getting the Nike deal—how do you stay focused?

KP: The scoring record, going No. 1…it’s been great that that’s happened, but I didn’t plan it like that. I try to keep in mind that the reason it’s all happening is because of my ability to play basketball. Before the draft, you’re right: It was hectic. I was trying as much as I could to enjoy it, but I’ll be glad when things slow down. Like, “All right y’all, let’s just play basketball now.” That’s the fun part.

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