Divas who played sports before they wrestled

Divas who played sports before they wrestled

Tamina Snuka

Divas who played sports before they wrestled

Sport: Basketball

Team: Umpqua Community College Riverhawks; Rosenburg, OR 

Playing Days: “I didn’t get into basketball because I was tall. When I was younger, I just loved watching Michael Jordan. And, of course, my family has always been in sports. I used to run track, so basketball was just something else to get into. When we were living in Hawaii, that’s when I first started to play. There was a college over there running a basketball clinic, and it was the first time I ever saw really tall basketball players. Instantly I felt, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m gonna dunk one day!’ ”

Most Memorable Moments: “I played power forward, among other positions, but I wasn’t a really good scorer. I was an out-of-control kind of a player, so I was actually great at playing defense and rebounding. Getting the most rebounds was kind of my deal. In my second year, we went 26-0. We went into our NWAACC Tournament, and I ended up winning MVP based on my defense and rebounding. So that was kind of cool for me.”

Basketball vs. WWE: “There are a lot of things that I learned from playing sports at a competitive level, like how to be strong-minded and work hard. That’s exactly how it is in WWE, too. If I’m not out there working hard at the gym or speaking on the microphone or at wrestling skills — I’m not going to go anywhere. It’s passion, it’s what you want — because you can’t teach passion, you know?”



Nikki Bella

Divas who played sports before they wrestled

Sport: Soccer

Team: Grossmont College Griffins; El Cajon, CA

Playing Days: “When I was a junior in high school, I was asked to play with Arizona State University. They needed players in one of their big college games, and I actually got to play as sweeper for a half. I had a four-year plan for college, but I only played for one year as a sweeper due to injury. I snapped my leg in half. I was Player of the Year in my region as a freshman.”

Professional Aspirations: “Before I signed with WWE, I was thinking of moving to Italy and playing in their women’s league. But even before I broke my leg, I was going to play for The Heatwave — a pro team in Arizona — and hoping to try out for the World Cup team after college.”

Best Advice From a Coach: “My coach was the one who totally gave me my sense of commitment, making me goal-driven. He encouraged us to always go after what we wanted. I feel like that’s the way I’ve lived my life because of my coach; whatever I want, I go after it.”

Soccer vs. WWE: “There are definitely similarities, especially with your footing. When I came to WWE and started to learn how to wrestle and move around the ring, I realized that everything I learned in soccer as a defender helped me between the ropes. I never tripped over my feet. All those drills about keeping myself balanced totally, totally helped.”

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