President and CEO John Doleva was making what would become his routine phone call after more than 20 years with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
On the other end of the line was the New Orleans Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations Swin Cash.
Cash had cleared her schedule on March 28 to be available during the window Doliva was supposed to call. But over time, Cash realized that her youngest son, Sayer, needed a diaper change. So Cash, who had been waiting years for this exact call, politely commented on Doleva.
When the call resumed, Doliva tells Cash to tell Sayer that his mother is a 2022 Naismith Hall of Fame member.
“It literally sums up my life at the moment,” Cash told ESPN, recalling the moment. Cash will be dedicated to the 12 other members of the Hall of Fame Saturday night in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Since her playing career ended, Cash—a two-time NCAA Champion and All-American Champion, three-time WNBA Champion and four-time All-Star Team, and a member of the WNBA 20th and 25th Anniversary Teams—has been wearing various hats.
As the mother of 1-year-old Syer and 5-year-old Saint, and the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Pelicans, Cash has juggled motherhood and stormed the world of NBA executive.
During her career, Cash has set goals. She set out to achieve these goals as an all-American at McKeesport Area High School in her hometown of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, which is 15 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. She did it when she won the national titles at the University of Connecticut. She did so during her 15-year career in the WNBA which also included some championship episodes.
Along the way, Cash became one of the highest ranked women in the NBA. As she enters her fourth season at the Pelicans front office, her latest goal is to make sure this is just the beginning.
professional kisses Cash played his UConn career for coach Geno Auriemma. Cash said Orima and her time with the huskies prepared her for what she is today.
Orima, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, said when Cash stepped onto campus, her level of competitiveness distinguished her from her teammates.
“I tried to win every possession,” Orima told ESPN. “It was evident in high school. It was evident on our first day of practice when I arrived in Connecticut as a freshman. Of all the big kids who joined the school, no one competed or played harder than I did.”
Cash was part of two UConn National Championship teams, in 2000 and 2002. Her team for 2002 included Sue Bird, Tamika Williams, Asjha Jones and Diana Taurasi. This team went 39-0 with Cash earning the 2002 NCAA Player of the Year as she capped her college career with a performance of 20 points and 13 rebounds in the national title game.
Cash was the No. 2 pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft — Bird took first overall, Jones was fourth and Williams was No. 6 — and headed for the Detroit Shock.
She led Detroit to WNBA titles in 2003 and 2006 and won her third and final championship with Seattle — and Bird — in 2010. Cash played with Detroit, Seattle, Chicago and Atlanta before ending her career with New York Liberty in 2016.
In New York, Cash began working closely with Theresa Witherspoon, who is now an assistant coach for the Pelicans. The two had topped at the end of Weatherspoon’s WNBA career, which ended in 2004, but the bond began to form when Weatherspoon was working with Liberty as player development manager at the end of Cash’s playing days.
In 2017, Cash was appointed Director of Franchise Development at Liberty in a role that gave her an opportunity to work in both business operations and basketball.
“You knew that if she got into this executive position, she knew how to take a team to the next level,” Witherspoon told ESPN. “Everyone has to fit into that culture. I get that. And then to take that to the executive level, she’s doing a hell of a job.”
While Cash was starting her front office role with Liberty, she also worked for Turner Sports as an on-air analyst. There she met David Griffin, who left the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and was working with Turner as an announcer.
During their time at Turner, Griffin and Cash watched games together in the green room. Griffin loved how Cash watched the game and her thoughts on bringing the family and the team together.
“I told her, ‘If I go back to her, I’ll call you,'” said Griffin. “And she thought I was joking.”
Griffin was appointed by the Pelicans as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations in April 2019. Less than two months later, Cash was officially on board.
“She’s really looking forward to talent,” Griffin said. “I like the way she thought about the game. She’s a multi-time champion on multiple levels. She understands what that level of sacrifice looks like. She’s good at recognizing who would be willing to make that sacrifice.”
weather months He was telling Cash, “This call is coming, that call is coming.” So when Cash finally got the call, she wanted to let Weatherspoon know.
Weatherspoon found near a row of benches between two training courts one Pelican’s day.
Cash asked her old friend and co-worker if she had any plans to come in September.
Weatherspoon – inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019 – didn’t hesitate.
“I don’t want to be anywhere but there,” Witherspoon said, still thinking her friend’s question was hypothetical.
A split second later, I clicked on Weatherspoon.
I jumped off the bench, threw a basketball across the gym and rushed toward Cash, who was standing on the field. She caught her friend in an embrace, a moment witherspoon describing it as “a true and real affection.”
Weatherspoon kept screaming when Cash wrapped up on the Pelicans’ flur-de-lis logo sitting in the middle of the training court floor.
“That was dope, I wouldn’t even lie,” Cash said.
Weatherspoon will be one of five Hall of Famers on stage with Cash when she is introduced on Saturday, along with Auriemma, Isiah Thomas, Tamika Catchings and Tina Thompson. As she watches her friend continue to grow in the final phase of her football career, Weatherspoon realizes that “greater things lie ahead.”
Cash is now setting her sights on one day making history as the first woman to lead a front desk in the NBA.
“That would be the goal,” says Cash.