By Charles Hallman
Athletes lose weight for various reasons, but mainly in order to perform better in their respective sport. This was partly the case for Minnesota Lynx second-year center Jessica Adair. But the George Washington graduate had an even more important reason to shed unwanted pounds.
“Diabetes runs in my family. My mom has diabetes. My grandma had diabetes,” admits Adair, who has a twin sister, Jazmine. “I was overweight.”
Adair was a three-time first-team all-conference player at GW and helped her team make consecutive Sweet 16 appearances (2006-07 and 2007-08). Picked in the third round in the 2009 WNBA Draft, Adair, however, was waived before training camp began.
She was in the Minnesota training camp a year later, but after one preseason appearance Adair again was waived. “When I came here last year, I knew I needed to lose weight in order to play in this league,” recalled the 6-4 center, who was brought back later last season and made her WNBA debut in the Lynx’s season finale.
“I wanted to play in the WNBA. It was a lifelong dream since I was younger,” says Adair.
“She played well in Indiana. That’s the reason she has a job here this year,” recalls Minnesota Coach Cheryl Reeve.
After last season, Reeve advised Adair that if she lost some weight and worked on her game, she indeed would be brought back. As a result, Adair spent last winter playing in Turkey and re-signed with Minnesota last February. She then reported to training camp this spring slimmer and trimmer: She lost “a total of 70 pounds,” claims the Lynx center.
“I’m a lot faster,” continues Adair. “I’m a lot more fluid than I was in college.”
Looking back, Adair assessed her off-court habits. “I was really big on burgers,” she surmises. “I ate a lot of cheeseburgers, steak, and stuff like that in college.
While overseas, she drastically changed her diet: “I stopped eating beef and pork, white rice and white bread products,” explains Adair. “I tried to limit my sweets intake, and I worked out like crazy.”
She likes her new look, but admittedly it has taken her family aback.
“It’s different for them,” notes Adair. “I’ve been the bigger twin all my life — right now I am the smaller twin. My mom thinks I’m too skinny.”
Both Lynx assistants Jim Petersen and Shelley Patterson have been among her biggest boosters as well, Reeve notes.
“She is a gamer and has good hands. I think she needs to relax a little bit and play,” Patterson points out.
More important than being quicker on the court, being healthier “helps you overall,” Adair advises. “When I was bigger, I had a snoring problem. Now I don’t snore at all. It limits [other health] complications and little things. I think it is important; in the long run, it pays off.”
Being healthy was the best off-season improvement to her overall game on and off the court. “I feel the best I’ve ever felt,” she says.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.