RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There are very few firsts left in the world.
Someone already climbed Mount Everest, they already walked on the moon along with a hundred other things, but former Duke star Chelsea Gray managed to pull off a first this year.
Despite the multitude of incredible players that came before, Chelsea is the first Duke Women’s Basketball player to suit up for the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team.
“You just saying that kind of caught me off guard with all the great players we have had. You know, I think that just speaks volumes to being selected and what I’ve done up to this point to be able to be considered to wear that jersey,” said Gray. “It’s an honor to represent the University and the players that have come before me so there’s no reason to take that lightly. I just got the chills knowing that. Actually, I had no idea that was the case.”
When told the news by USA Basketball, Gray said she didn’t remember hearing beyond “congratulations.”
“As soon as I heard, things were kind of a blur,” said Gray. “It was super emotional. I started crying. It was a lot, the journey getting here. It hasn’t been a straight and narrow journey.”
The twists and turns along the way have been sudden. The setbacks tough to deal with but she’s persevered and has the chance people dream of for her efforts.
“I didn’t know if I was going to continue playing. I had been hurt so I hadn’t been able to go to many USA trials when I was younger,” said Gray. “A lot of people did not pick me to be where I am today so I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the journey that I have taken and now these last few years and the committee in the USA has seen my hard work and dedication to this game and being able to wear that jersey now.”
She’s not just going to sightsee. Known as one of the top point guards in the WNBA, Gray is currently averaging just over 11 points and 6 assists per game for the Las Vegas Aces. She fully expects to get plenty of time to show why she belongs on the court and be an example off it.
“We have a responsibility when we wear that USA jersey we cannot take it lightly and I think on a bigger scale little kids, little girls, little boys look at this and see someone that looks like them achieving something at the highest level,” said Gray. “I’m one of 12 and that’s a huge accomplishment. I keep saying that and I’m just like, ‘It could have been somebody else.’ I mean I hope it’s not somebody else now but I’m excited to wear this jersey and know that there’s a responsibility and there’s people that are looking up and understanding that this is a huge honor.”