Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith loves playing in front of fans. So, it'll be especially different when she and the rest of Team USA women's basketball take the court at the Tokyo Olympics without some of their biggest supporters in the stands. Nonetheless, she remains focused on the task at hand: bringing home a gold medal.
"Nothing can take away the fact that I’m playing with some of the greatest athletes in the world," she said to Yahoo Sports. "Nothing compares to playing in the Olympics."
Diggins-Smith spoke to Yahoo Sports as a part of Puma's "Only See Great" campaign. Rapper, entrepreneur and philanthropist Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter once said: “I only see great. I don’t see good. I don’t see compromise. We should always strive to make something great, something that will last." As Diggins-Smith sets her sight on international glory, she'll be keeping Jay-Z's remarks and Puma's vision of "hope, optimism and self-belief" in mind from the first tip-off to the final whistle.
"He has a vision and takes steps to making dreams come to fruition," Diggins-Smith said about the Grammy winner's cultural impact. "The extraordinary only happens when one strives toward greatness. Settling for the norm doesn’t move culture."
Diggins-Smith's mentality heading into Tokyo: 'Stay focused'
There's arguable pressure that comes from making your Olympics debut. When asked what she'll do to maintain her form overseas, Diggins-Smith emphasized the necessity of practice.
"You know what the best players in the world do, no matter where they are —they practice, practice, practice. And that’s what I plan to do."
You can't play your best game without the best equipment. As a Puma basketball athlete, Diggins-Smith is outfitted some of the best apparel in footwear on the market. She credits the Fusion Nitro and DREAMER 2 as her go-to sneakers during the W's historic 25th season. According to the pilates enthusiast, "Puma listens to the athlete - they listen to feedback and they care about what is best for performance."
In her final match before Tokyo, Diggins-Smith recorded 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the Mercury's (9-10) 82-75 loss over the Seattle Storm (16-5).
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