CALGARY (March 16, 2016) — Kim Lee is out to prove it’s never too late.
The former SAIT Trojans women’s basketball player, now 29 years of age, decided in the fall to put her career as an IT Consultant for local oil and gas companies on hold so she could chase down her dream of playing in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
“I’ve always had a passion for the game; I love it today as much as I did when I was playing every day,” says Lee, who recently posted videos to social media to further showcase her skills on the court. “My competitive fire has never left me, even today. When I had time to reflect, I thought 29 is pretty much the last chance I have at really giving this a shot. . . My heart and desire for the game has always been there, and still is.”
After seven months of shooting jump shots and improving her ball handling skills, the 5-foot-10 Lee will get a chance to show her skills on April 2 in Indianapolis, Ind., at the ProHoops Combine.
There, WNBA hopefuls will be under the watchful eyes of league coaches and general managers.
“I’m definitely pumped, prepared and nervous,” says Lee, who has been in contact with a few WNBA teams who have told her to seek them out while in Indianapolis. “But, I think I have been doing all the right things to get me the most prepared for this.”
Lee, originally from Toronto, played just one year for the Trojans, suiting up for the Red and White in the 2009/10 season after spending the previous four with the University of Waterloo Warriors.
That year, Lee helped the Trojans capture the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) championship, and a fifth-place finish at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championship.
She averaged 20.3 points per game and set a school record — that still stands today — for most three-pointers made in a season (51).
Her season finished with three incredible honours — both the CCAA and ACAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, as well as the ACAC Athlete of the Year.
Closer to home, Lee was also named the 2010 SAIT Trojans’ Female Athlete of the Year.
Following that season, Lee used the math degree earned at Waterloo to become an IT Consultant, specializing in oil and gas. Four and a half years later, and with some time on the court spent with the Calgary Storm women’s semi-professional team, Lee decided to put all of her efforts into playing basketball at the highest level.
“The economy had been so busy in the last several years that I never really had the chance to breathe,” she says. “Being able to take a breath now with everything going on in the economy, I thought about what I really wanted to do now. . . It wasn’t a hard decision. I just had to do a lot of research to figure out what the steps were to get as far as I could.”
Since beginning her quest back in September, Lee’s training sessions have included practicing with the University of Calgary women’s basketball team, weight training, and private workouts where she must make 500 baskets — 300 of those coming from behind the three-point line.
“My body doesn’t bounce back the way it used to. I’m not 21 anymore,” says Lee laughing. “The conditioning, it took a little while to get over that hump and get back to playing every day, but I’m at the point now where I’m doing five to six hours a day, 35 hours a week.”
After the combine, the WNBA will hold their annual draft on April 14 where players 22 years of age and up will be selected. If she is not drafted, Lee will seek out a free agent contract.
By the time the season starts on May 14, Lee hopes to be suiting up against the best players in the world.
“I would love the chance to play on any squad and just have that experience,” she says.