Benjamin Hochman | February 19, 2019
For this girl, the prettiest chains were the ones hanging from the iron rims above the blacktop.
“Chain nets,” Muffet McGraw says. “Everhart Park.”
When you made your shot, it made a gentle jingle, the wind chimes of her childhood.
She’d play basketball with the boys. All the time. From when she was in grade school in West Chester, Pennsylvania, through high school.
“I don’t remember ever being afraid,” says McGraw, who was born in 1955. “I didn’t think anything of it really. Just that I wanted to get better. I’m going to get better playing against guys, so that’s what I’m going to do. . . . I’m always the person that was motivated when you said, ‘You can’t do that.’”
Back then, she says, it was, “You’re a girl. You can’t do that.”
McGraw was a feminist before she knew what it meant.
What followed was a lifetime of self-discovery as one, realizing that through basketball she could empower women — and herself.
To use a double-entendre as blatant as a double dribble, McGraw is a game changer. She’s already immortalized in the Basketball Hall of Fame, yet she’s still making history in real time. She’s the head coach of the defending national champions, coaching in her 32nd season in South Bend. Eight Final Fours. Two national titles. At this point, she’s an institution — in part by changing the institution for the better.
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