Kelsey Plum — star guard for the Las Vegas Aces and now two-time WNBA Champion — is no stranger to character building.
Prior to the Aces' championship parade on Tuesday (to celebrate their recent WNBA Finals victory against the New York Liberty), Plum joined the Pat McAfee show to discuss the Aces' — and her own — success. When asked how often she competed against boys growing up, and whether that helped her progress as a basketball player, Plum gave a fascinating answer.
"Playing against boys growing up was super helpful for me, because, you know, the size, speed, strength, physicality of it all. My dad... I played a ton of pick up with my dad. He used to make me walk home after we lost."
After a second of awkward silence, Plum — who is the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer in basketball, for any gender — clarified that her dad's methods were beneficial.
"All good things, all character building things," Plum said with a smile. "But yeah, absolutely [playing against boys] definitely helps."
Considering the Plum family's athletic background, it should come as no surprise that Kelsey's parents, Katie and Jim Plum, prioritized competition.
Jim Plum was an All-American quarterback during his high school days in La Mesa, California, and went on to play both football and baseball at San Diego State University.
Kelsey's mother, Katie, was an accomplished college volleyball player at the University of California, Davis.
Despite Kelsey having three siblings, one reason that Jim Plum needed to find boys for Kelsey to play basketball against was because his household consisted of mostly women.
Kelsey Plum has two sisters — Kaitlyn and Lauren — who both followed in their mom's footsteps and focused their athletic careers on volleyball. In fact, Kaitlyn even played volleyball at UC Davis just like her mother. Lauren, however, took her talents to Eugene; having a prestigious volleyball career at the University of Oregon before playing professional volleyball overseas.
The Plum sisters also have a younger brother — who was, of course, also an athlete. Daniel Plum was a standout tight end at Cathedral Catholic high school, before also choosing UC Davis to play college football. Therefore, all six members of the Plum family are former Division 1 athletes. Clearly Jim Plum was doing something right when having Kelsey walk home after pick up losses.
After sharing her childhood pick up pedestrian anecdote, Plum admitted to taking part in occasional trash talk.
"I'm not gonna lie, I get going sometimes. If it hits me, if it hits me in the right way, absolutely."
Growing up in a household full of athletes, it's no wonder that Plum — who is considered one of the best trash talkers in the WNBA, and even teased Tom Brady as he sat courtside at an Aces game earlier this month — learned early on that talking the talk and walking the walk were tethered to each other.
During both the Aces' 2022 and 2023 championship parades, Plum has produced iconic photos of her smoking cigars; a classic way to commemorate any athletic achievement. One would assume that Plum also picked up this celebration cigar tradition from her father, Jim — especially because the Plum household has clearly produced many celebration-worthy moments.
Perhaps more parents should make their kids walk home after losing.
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