On This Mother’s Day, Basketball Isn’t The First Thing On Abby Bishop’s Mind

Later today, the Seattle Storm will finish their preseason slate with a game against the Phoenix Mercury, one last tune-up before they embark on the 2016 campaign. But for Abby Bishop, basketball isn’t the only reason this day is important. It’s Mother’s Day, of course, a special day for everyone, but one that takes on even more significance when you have a growing little girl. A little less than three years ago, Bishop was focused on her budding basketball career. She had won a WNBA championship with the Storm in 2010, the Bronze Medal at the 2012 Olympics with the Australian national team, and was emerging as one of best players in Australia’s Women’s National Basketball League. But her sister Chloe’s personal struggles left her unfit to care for her newborn daughter, Zala. Before Zala was placed into a foster program, Bishop took her in. At first it was just a temporary arrangement, but after a year, the family and courts agreed that Zala staying with Bishop permanently was the best option. “I grew up in a broken family and I just wanted Zala to have a great life,” Bishop explained to the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) of Australia shortly after being granted permanent custody. “I know foster carers do a great job, and they need a pat on the back, but I wanted Zala to stay in the family, and I had no real reason not to take her.” All of a sudden, basketball was no longer the most important thing in Bishop’s life — and it hasn’t been ever since. “You become a mom, and you become second to everything. And that first priority is your child,” Bishop told WNBA.com. “Zala does come first, and basketball is second.” Basketball may not be Bishop’s number one priority anymore, but don’t let that fool you into thinking she doesn’t still have skills. In 2014-15, she took home the WNBL MVP Award while playing for the Canberra Capitals. And so it goes: Zala and basketball, basketball and Zala. The two main loves of her life will always be intertwined. That’s just the way it goes raising a child as a professional basketball player. While Zala doesn’t sit on the bench with her mom during games as she used to when Bishop was playing in Australia, Zala is still there for every leg of Bishop’s basketball journey. Whether it’s Australia, Europe or Seattle, Zala will be right by her side. Raising a young girl while playing professionally is a constant juggling act, but one made easier with how understanding her teams have been. “I think I’ve been really fortunate that every team that I’ve played for has really taken Zala in as part of the family, part of the team,” Bishop said. “The Seattle Storm have been amazing with welcoming her, as well. All the girls really enjoy having her around, whether it’s shootaround on a gameday or after a game. She comes in the locker room and gives the girls hi-fives and those kind of things. She’s a part of it, and she loves (the mascot) Doppler.” As it turns out, all that time around basketball has inspired the youngster. “It’s funny because lately she’s been telling me she wants to train,” Bishop said, chuckling. “So she tells me to yell at her, and she’ll run around the house, or run down the hallway. And I have to say, ‘go Zala, go Zala!’ She says, ‘yell at me mom!’ So she’s really starting to understand, which is cool.” So watch out, Seattle. Having Zala around might be cute and fun for now, but someday soon you might have some competition on your hands. http://www.wnba.com/news/abby-bishop-zala-mothers-day-storm/
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