Pittsburgh Superstars: Swin Cash, women’s basketball

PITTSBURGH — College championships, two Olympic medals, the WNBA and now the NBA —  basketball star Swin Cash has done it all.  Still, she said so many of her milestones tie back to her family, and her Pittsburgh and McKeesport roots.

Cash told Channel 11 sports anchor Jenna Harner one of her most treasured memories is winning her first Olympic gold medals in 2004 in Athens.

“It’s something that you really can’t put into words, but it’s an amazing feeling,” Cash said. “It’s just a flood of emotions, memories come back. People who believed in you, people who didn’t believe in you, things that you may have had to overcome, adversity, that was there. It’s like getting to the pinnacle of your career and being able to say ‘I did it.’”

Cash won gold again in London in 2012. She said it was such a proud moment to not only represent the USA, but Pittsburgh.

“To be on that stage, I knew that it was bigger than me, I knew that I was standing up not only for myself, my family for my city, but also our country,” Cash said.  “And it represented how diverse and how we all come from different backgrounds, but we have that same common goal.”

Pittsburgh and the city of McKeesport still burst with pride over Cash. There are posters at the McKeesport High gym, framed jerseys, and a banner with her name hanging in the rafters.

McKeesport Superintendent Mark Holtzman had his own stellar athletic career playing football at Syracuse University. He was one year ahead of Cash in high school and the two were friends. They also battled on the basketball court.

“Her coach, Coach Joe Grayson, used to recruit me to come to their practices in between the boy practices, and play defense on her, because no one could defend her,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman added, with everything Cash has accomplished, she’s happy just being a girl from McKeesport, and giving back to her community and her alma mater.

“She come(s) in and has spoken to students. I was a high school principal for many years prior to being superintendent, and she would come in and talk to our freshmen and interact. I could pick up the phone and call her at any moment to take a phone call and talk to a current student-athlete. Her niece is currently on our girls’ basketball team,” Holtzman said. “Swin’s  just an incredible human being and was an incredible student-athlete here at McKeesport.”

Still, Cash told Harner she appreciates the love she gets from McKeesport and Pittsburgh almost daily.

“I love the fact that I can go home and I can be in Giant Eagle, I can be the park, and people come up to me, and they want to talk and have stories about back when I was in high school and they watched me play or in college,” Cash said. “And you know, I could be down at the museum or design center with some of our kids from  ‘Cash for Kids,’ and people just they feel that they know me and I’m a hometown girl.”

Cash currently is the Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.