Wideman, Jamila : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Wideman, Jamila

Jamila Ann Wideman

Wideman, who played at Stanford University and then played professionally in the WNBA, is the daughter of a Jewish mother and African-American father. In 1999, she went to Israel to play professional basketball for Elitzur Ramla (during the off-season of the WNBA). Besides improving her team, and the league, with her hard work and basketball knowledge, Wideman learned much about her own Jewish identity from her time in Israel.

During an interview with Scott Granowitz of JewishSports.com, she said, "I had no idea (coming from America) about the diversity within the Jewish population in terms of ethnic background...These are things I am learning every day...not just intellectually, my Jewish background means a lot to me and this is the first time I've had a chance to think about it."

Wideman was honored with the USA Today Weekend's Most Caring Athlete Award in August 1999 for a foundation she created called "Hoopin' with Jamila."

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Oct. 16, 1975

Career Highlights:
Wideman helped lead Stanford to three consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances (1995-97). In 1997, she was voted the MVP of the NCAA West Regional Tournament. During her college career, Wideman was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team in 1994, and to the All-Pac 10 Conference team in 1996. She was also Pac-10 All-Academic first team in 1997. She finished her career ranked third in Stanford history in career assists (585) and career steals (255).

Wideman turned professional in 1997, playing for the Los Angeles Sparks (she was the team's first round pick and the third overall selection). That year, she ranked eighth in the WNBA with 3.7 assists per game while playing in 28 games. In 1998, she ranked 10th in the league in assists to turnover ratio (1.68), and ranked second on the Sparks with 57 assists (2.3/game). In 2000, she played in only five games before being placed on injured reserve and missed the rest of the season.

Prior to the 2001 season, Wideman was released by the Portland Fire. During her career in the WNBA, she played in 84 games (27 starts), scored 188 points (2.2), and added 56 steals, and 213 assists (2.5). Wideman retired from professional basketball in 2002 and decided to attend NYU Law School.

Laramie, Wyoming

Career Dates:
Wideman played guard at Stanford University from 1994-97. In 1997, she turned pro and played in the WNBA first for the L.A. Sparks, and was later picked up by the Portland Fire before retiring from the sport in 2002.

Physical description:
5'6", 135 pounds

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Jewish Sports Review July/August 2002 issue

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