Passion              Timeline               Trophy cabinet               Euroleague records

Thank you basketball

After a unique experience at the Olympics, it is time for me to say goodbye to my playing days. 

There is something so special about the Olympics. The whole world is united around sports, it is intense, it is with lots of emotions and there are a lot of first times. 

First time Belgium qualifies for women’s basketball, first time we play the 1/4 finals. Just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be. I felt inspired walking around the best athletes of the world, who don’t settle for the limits they have been told exist. We push beyond. Records and limits are made to be broken. 

There were a lot of first of’s in my career, without knowing it . First draft pick of WNBA, first Belgian to win a Euroleague title and being the mvp,… But far more important than my personal accolades, it is seeing others following in my footsteps. How beautiful is it to see Emma Meesseman evolve as one of the best players in the world, or Julie Allemand and Kim Mestdagh getting their experience in Wnba. 

I don’t even know where I have to start thanking people who allowed me to go after my dreams. 

I have been working 3 long hard years to get to the Olympics. Many challenges, with cartilage dammage in both knees and getting older every day. The endless hours spent on the court in silence with Philip and PY, riding to Antwerp to get the best rehab exercises. Going on the track in cold, rainy weather. I even accommodated a whole room with weights and a special curved treadmill in my basement. 

I surrounded myself with people who pushed me, who believed in me. And the criticasters give me some extra fuel to keep the fire very much alive. 

When I am sincere with you, I was completely overwhelmed the first day we got to the Olympic village and the Openings ceremony felt like a fairy-tail. I had to pinch myself a couple times, yes it is really happening. 

After a couple days even the Olympic village started to feel normal, expect the cart wood beds! Then you start to realize the road you had to take to get there. And yeah it was a long one, a tough one, not always an honest one. Again I felt overwhelmed by knowing how many people helped me in this process. From my wife who supported me through everything to the endless love from my kids, who started also to share my dream. Also my parents who drove me to all basketball games when I was young, my sister to always give me a different perspective. Coaches, physios, physical coaches, trainers, doctors all helped me shape who I became as a player but also as a person. 

My close circle of real friends, who really know me and gave me the right distraction when I needed it. 

 

I mean it true happiness is not found at the Olympics, but it’s waking up every morning, even if you don’t feel like it, go anyways and put the work in. That’s where you find pure happiness. 

Life is about the journey, not the destination. And that journey will change you as a person. In order to achieve that dream, sacrifices were made and my family supported me every step of the way. I can’t be more happy and grateful. 

 

I can’t thank my teammates enough. The beauty of basketball is that you can’t achieve anything without your team. I played for so many different teams, with women from all over the world. Thank you for broaden my vision on the world.  Great memories of celebrating our successes but also comforting each other in the hard times, will stay forever in my mind.

 

Lastly I want to thank you! You are reading this, you have in some kind of way helped me, pushed me, encouraged me to live my dream. You are the real ambassadors of our beautiful sport. Without you we wouldn’t have those great, warm memories of full gyms, arenas with crazy atmosphere which gave me goosebumps and adrenaline to perform. From the bottom of my heart thank you. 

 

Extremely grateful to be able to leave on my own terms. This orange ball will always have a special place in my heart. 

Time for another chapter with new dreams, aspirations and I am pretty sure also with a lot of challenges! 

My passion.
My life's work.

From my first playing days as a 12-year-old girl in Sint-Niklaas to a WNBA title in Los Angeles. The sport to which I have dedicated my entire life has already taken me to so many beautiful places, given me unforgettable memories and allowed me to meet amazing people.

Scroll on and discover some key moments in my career.

1992 How it started

Although I only started playing basketball in Sint-Niklaas when I was twelve, I was instantly hooked. I immediately asked my parents to hang a basketball ring above the garage and spent a lot of time on our driveway.

1997 Belgian Cats

I was barely sixteen and was allowed to go to Slovenia. Everyone in the team was still studying or working and had to take ten days off for the national team. For them it was a break from normal life. It was there that I was first noticed by French coaches. We were playing against France at the time.

1998 France

For my parents, a diploma was the most important thing. Little did I know that professional basketball was also possible in Europe. I didn’t even know that there was a top team nearby, in Valenciennes, France. When I finished high school, I left for France.

2000 WNBA

At the age of 19, I saw myself getting drafted by the Cleveland Rockers. Suddenly I was part of the league I had looked up to for years and began 1 of the biggest challenges of my life. And all this while I had only been playing basketball for 7 years. I played in Cleveland and New York until 2005 when I took a short break.

2007 EK

It was the year of truth for the Belgian Cats. I will never forget the European Championship in 2007. It was one of my biggest disappointments in my career. We finished 7th and the first 6 went to the Olympics… 

2011 Lou & Vince

In 2011 I gave birth to our son Vince and my wife Lot gave birth to our daughter Lou less than a month earlier. I took a “mommy break” from basketball to spend as much time as possible with the kids and my family.

2011 Comeback-mom

It was time again to compete at the very highest level. And we did with Valencia. That year we won the Euroliga title and all in all, these were some of the best years of my basketball career. The fact that I was able to do all this together with my family, I am so grateful for.

2016 WNBA Title

After some of my best years in the Euroleague, I made my comeback to the WNBA. I played alongside some of the best players in the league including Candace Parker and Chelseay Gray. We won the title this year in a thrilling Game 5 making me the first Belgian to win a WNBA title.

2021 Tokyo

The icing on the cake for my career. After the wonderful European Championships in 2017 I didn’t think I was going to continue for another 3 years, but the Olympic dream kept on playing in my head. We made a great run during the olympics and ended up with a heartbreaking 1 point loss in the semi-finals against Japan.

What's next? Inspire

In the coming years, I want to share my experiences with the world in order to inspire young women in sports to follow their dream, but most of all show them to feel good with who they are.

My trophy cabinet

I collected many awards during my basketball career. In addition to many team titles and individual awards, I was named best European player 5 times.

Het zijn de titels die ik verloren heb,
waar ik het meest uit leerde.

Belgian Cats

Europese prijzen

Zomercompetities

Euroleague records

To this day I am still record holder in 3 different categories in the Euroleague. An achievement I was only aware of after my Euroleague career but one I am definitely proud of.

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