The Women’s NCAA National Championship Game averaged 9.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched women’s college basketball game in history. The LSU Women’s Basketball Team became a household name after winning its first national championship in program history and fans have had the opportunity to admire some of their favorite players, on and off the court.
Beaumont native and former LSU point guard Alexis Morris sits down with Def Pen Sports Writer Danielle Germain to discuss her next steps after becoming a 2023 NCAA National Champion. Alexis Morris started 34 of 36 games for the Tigers during their championship season and averaged 15.4 points. Now, she’s determined to share her gifts in new ways and give back to the communities who gave to her.
Note: This interview has been lightly edited for grammatical clarity and brevity.
Danielle Germain: Following an unforgettable championship season at LSU and being selected 22nd overall by the Connecticut Sun, how are you going to use the lessons of this past year as motivation going forward?
Alexis Morris: Moving forward, everything is a learning experience and everything can be turned into a lesson. I won the national championship. A lot of kids don’t know what it takes to win a National Championship or even know where to start. That’s where I come into play. I played for three Hall of Fame coaches. I have Hall of Fame knowledge and I have Hall of Fame wisdom, because you got to realize when I was at Texas A&M, and when I was at Rutgers – I wasn’t playing, I was strictly and solely a student of the game. I didn’t have the opportunity to go play, I was engineering workers at Texas A&M, but I just wasn’t in the favor. So, I learned how to be a good teammate. I learn how to be quiet when things aren’t going in my favor. Learn how to take the back seat.
Even when I know I’m a star, I learned how to put my ego aside and that’s what I can teach kids. These are my [real] life experiences that I can actually teach kids. If I can prevent one kid from making mistakes, from going down the wrong path, or from being perceived as a defiant kid or a certain type of way, then that’s what I want to do. When I say this, I’m not in this for [any] money. I don’t care about money. I want to save. I want to help. I’m going to help and save people.”
Your abilities truly speak for themselves. You dominate scoring. You’re a consistent three-point threat with mid-range shooting skills and strategic ball-handling capabilities. Also, you’re a great leader, swiftly moving the ball down court while communicating with your teammates. What do you hope to bring to the next level of the game overseas or in the WNBA?
I plan on bringing my game, you know. I like to play up-tempo. You know, we swaggy – LSU. We kind of made it okay for women to be a little more outspoken on the court and be a little more expressive. And, you know, remove that gender bias.
You know how people like to say, ‘Oh, they’re women basketball players.’ That doesn’t matter because we can do what y’all can do. So, I want to bring that overseas and to the WNBA. I just want to bring that honor of being unapologetically yourself and not living under parameters set by other people because they say stuff like, ‘This is what you’re supposed to do. Oh, you can’t dunk, so you shouldn’t get paid.’ There [are] no parameters. You can’t put parameters on people — men or women. Don’t put parameters on people.
It’s a really special time for women’s basketball and I think a lot of the excitement around the game developed during the 2022-2023 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Season, especially from teams like LSU. How can supporters carry the same energy and love into future seasons of WBB at the collegiate and professional level?
I always say supporters should follow our personal journey because we won’t always be tied to institutions and systems. So, just follow us and see what we’re doing individually. Don’t just always connect us with these institutions because at the end of the day, we’re individuals with individual brands so you all should try to support us individually.
For example, people see the LSU jersey and, they’ll go get it. But if I come out with Alexis Morris’ Tigers jersey, support me. Support me and my business and my brand, now.
For example, everybody wants to go buy LeBron shoes or Steph Curry shoes. Why can’t we have some? Why can’t we have men wearing a woman’s signature basketball shoe? Have we ever seen that?
We all know Candace Parker, right? Can we go to a Nike store and say, ‘I want those Candace Parker shoes.’ You [have] all these big time male athletes logos everywhere, but we don’t get those same opportunities.
I want to get on the business side of basketball. I want to play more years, but I’m really heavy on the business side right now because I think that’s where I’m truly going to make an impact. My impact is going to come from the other side of my abilities: coaching, developing training, and mentorship.
“I want to provide an environment that is safe and fun. I want it to be a ‘come ready to learn’ environment for the kids. Most importantly, I want them to leave happy. I want them to leave knowing that they learned something.”
As a nominee for the 2023 BET Sportswoman of the Year Award, what does it mean to you to be nominated and what advice would you give young athletes of color who aspire to be in similar spaces?
It’s surreal. It’s just now hitting me. I’m in disbelief. I’m in shock. I’m grateful. Thank God! Because at one point in life, I was canceled. So, I’m just so grateful. I can’t explain the feeling, [but I do know this]. The BET Awards? It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than LSU. It’s for the culture.
I would tell the younger kids this. – Don’t get so caught up in the destination because I never thought I would be here. Be consumed by the journey. Just put the work in, grind, put your head down, keep a smile on your face and just keep working. Don’t be so locked in on the destination because when you get to the destination, you will realize it was the journey that you really should cherish.
Take me for example. You’ve been working your whole life, right? You get to the national championship and then, you win. The feeling lasts that day – that day in that moment. Then, the feeling begins to slowly fade away the next day. But the journey doesn’t fade because I’ve got to start a new journey the next day. Okay, now I’m a national champion. Okay, now. Okay, I want to be an overseas champion. Let’s go get a Euro League title. Okay, so what does the journey look like now?
I have so much to give to the world. But you know, it’s unfortunate, but my mouth has gotten me in trouble. And I’ve said it. So I’m learning as a young adult, sometimes you just don’t need an answer. Like, sometimes no answer is an answer.
Tell me about the Alexis Morris Skills Camp series. What keeps your training camp unique and what do you hope these sessions will provide the next generation of athletes?
We are focused on the kids. It’s all about the kids – pleasing and developing the children. I remember how excited I was to go to basketball camps when I was a kid. I cherished what I learned when I was at camp and how it made me feel when I interacted with college players or pro players and the people that I had looked up to.
I want to provide an environment that is safe and fun. I want it to be a ‘come ready to learn’ environment for the kids. Most importantly, I want them to leave happy. I want them to leave knowing that they learned something. I want them to leave with something – whether it’s a quote, whether it’s a drill, whether it’s a play, something that will help them remember the skills they learned from the Alexis Morris camp forever.
I’m not pushing this national championship theory. That is what is going to get a lot of people to come out and support the camp anyway but I want everyone to know that I am here for the babies. This is my passion. I’m not in it for the money. I’m trying to build my brand and give back because my mom didn’t have it coming up. My family didn’t have a lot, a lot of people gave to me. A lot of people didn’t charge me. A lot of people just did things out of the kindness of their hearts. So I’m doing these camps. And yeah, I’m charging but I wish I didn’t have to.
It’s [business], but I don’t want it to feel like that. I want it to be personal. I want the kids to resonate with us. I want them to relate to what we’re teaching, my vibes, and my energy. That’s important. That’s what’s gonna make my training camp unique. We’re going to develop you but we’re also going to interact with you. We’re going to care about you, not just as campers, but as people. I just want to be a positive influence on the younger generation because I grew up in a bad environment. I grew up around a lot. I want to show kids something different. Especially, from a young age.
What does next year look like for you? What can fans look forward to seeing and what personal goals do you hope to achieve?
By this time next year, hopefully, I’ll be back in the W because that’s my dream. That’s my dream — play in the league with the best players in the world. Regardless of the comments I’ve made, I still respect all the veterans in the league. I looked up to them a lot. I looked up to these people growing up. I want to have my business and my brand, Alexis Moore’s Corporation LLC. I also want to have my basketball academy up and running. By this time next year, I will have an AAU team. I’ll have my athleisure line going.
This is what I mean by the business side. I’ll have my training(s) going, but I want to have my own gym by this time next year. This time next year, I want my camp tour to expand. Instead of us going to seven cities and two different states, I want to go to 10 different cities in 15 different states. I just want to gradually grow.
I know that this takes time, but I’m not an instant gratification type of person. My journey helped me with patience. God has sat me down multiple times and made me wait.
Who is ‘defining the culture’ in music and in sports? Feel free to let us know who you’re listening to and what other athletes inspire you.
I really don’t want to sound like one of those women, but I am going to be. Women are defining the culture right now: both in basketball and in music, period! Women are carrying the load right now. You have got Glorilla, Cardi and Nicki still in the game. You got the new artists — Coi Leray, Big Latto and Flau’Jae; taking over the game. It’s really interesting because a lot of people want to support women rappers now because they come with less drama. You don’t have to worry about violence, you know. They are here for positive messaging and the bigger vision. They want to look cute, tell their stories and get paid. Okay, so let’s just talk about how women are low maintenance and carrying the culture.
As far as basketball is concerned, I gotta give it to my girl Angel right now. For sports, Angel is changing the game. Not only can women relate to Angel, but I think all athletes can relate to Angel because we all have to grind and be competitive at the end of the day. It takes skill, discipline, determination, tenacity, and relentlessness to compete at this level. So, I’m gonna say Angel because she makes it okay to be unapologetically f**king Black. She has made it okay for little black girls to be like, ‘I’m black and I’m proud and this is what I do.
I’ve kept my eyes very closely on you and Angel and Flau’Jae as well. I’ve watched you guys because I think each of you bring something so different to the table. Like you said, Angel has shown us how to be unapologetic and proud. You, Alexis, have told us that you don’t fit in a box, that your voice is massive and matters and our voices as black women matter. I think Flau’Jae has shown me that you can be more than one type of person. You can be an athlete and you can be a rapper. You can be everything. I’ve really appreciated your three journeys because I think that you all are doing a lot for young black women of all ages and backgrounds. Thank you all so much for your existence and your power.
Wow, thank you so much. I know I can speak for them and say we all really appreciate this because that was our goal at the beginning of the year. We wanted to impact and change the game and who knew it would be through little black girls from very small towns. Who knew it would be three young black girls from inner cities changing the game? Angel is from Baltimore, the hood in Baltimore. I’m from Beaumont, one of the poorest cities in the world. Flau’Jae is from one of the poorest cities – Savannah. I don’t come from a big city; I’m not a city girl. Who knew it would be three little black girls changing the world right now. Cause that’s what it is!
We got the world shook because we were saying what we’re saying. Flau’Jae rapping is doing what she’s doing. Angel gets all these NIL deals and she’s doing it in your face, but she’s doing everything in a classy way. We are not classless. Coach Kim Mulkey doesn’t instill that in any of her players because Mulkey is not classless. Angel’s mom isn’t classless. Flau’jae’s mom isn’t classless. We don’t come from classless people. Let’s just start with our families. Let’s talk about our mothers. We all [Flau’jae, Angel, and myself] come from three strong black women.