TULSA, OK– The WNBA’s newest team is living up to it’s name.
In a surprise move, Tulsa Shock head coach and general manager Nolan Richardson announced Wednesday the signing of former Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones to the roster as a free agent.
Jones is best known for winning 3 gold medals in track and field at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and for having to forfeit them after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs 7 years later. She is less known for her basketball career, which saw her play for the 1994 University of North Carolina Lady Tarheels where she won a national championship.
Richardson was impressed enough with Jones after just one individual workout to make her an offer to join the Shock. “Watching her go through drill I saw a player who is perfect for our system,” Richardson said, “The one thing I do know is that she can run, and any player on my team who wants to be successful needs to be able to run.”
Jones’ basketball achievements include being a member of the 1992 California state high school champions from Thousand Oaks and in 1992 and being named California Division I Player of the Year in her senior year. She ranks 5th overall in assists, 3rd in steals and seventh in blocks at the University of North Carolina and with her help the Lady TarHeels went 92-10 when she played there.
Jones’s is very happy to become a member of the Tulsa Shock. “I’m extremely excited to join the team and the WNBA, “ Jones said, “After a lot of thought, I realized that this is a great fit for me because of Coach Richardson’s up tempo style of play. I can’t wait to start training camp and learn more about the city I’ll be representing.”
She was previously drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in 2003 but never suited up, and she will be considered a rookie when she takes to the court in the amazing BOK Center in May. She also worked out with the San Antonio Silver Stars prior to the tryout with Coach Richardson, “I may not be your typical rookie in this league, but I’ll still bring that Rookie energy,” she said, “I’m looking forward to playing against the best female athletes in the world.”
Tulsa Shock president Steve Swetoha thinks Jones is a great addition to the WNBA’s newest franchise and takes a redemptive stance in commenting on her past. “She made some ill-advised decisions in the past, but everyone deserves a second chance at something they love,” Swetoha remarked, “The city of Tulsa gave a struggling franchise from Detroit a second chance, and I’m confident it will do the same for Marion.”
“We couldn’t be happier to have her on board.” he said.
The Tulsa Shock will being their inaugural season May 15th against the Minnesota Lynx in the amazing BOK Center in downtown Tulsa. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 599-WNBA (9622) or by loggin on to wnba.com/shock.