By Adam Cohen
Rayna Dubose never was afraid of the boys. Even back when she was nine years old, she’d get out on the basketball court and mix it up with them. Sure, she had a pony tail. And, yes, most were older than she was. But she stood half a head taller than most of them. And she had those moves.
You might not expect it from looking at her—the height, the powerful frame—but on the court, Rayna leaped and spun and darted between defenders like a ballerina. Like the ballerina she’d been until she traded in her tutus and toe shoes for a pair of Air Jordans. Just like her big brother, Quinton.
Maybe it had been watching Quinton, who’d gone off to Providence College on a basketball scholarship, that had fueled Rayna’s hoop dreams. After all, as Rayna’s pediatrician would remind her each time she came for a visit, “There’s not a whole lot of hollering and screaming in ballet.”
At first, those boys wouldn’t pass her the ball. But in her second game, she snagged a loose ball and put it through the hoop. A moment later, she did it again. Her last basket that day was the game winner. After that, the boys couldn’t get the ball to Rayna enough.