Brains and Brawn: Imani Boyette

For student athletes everywhere, Chicago Sky rookie Imani Boyette is a model for balance on the court and in the classroom. Just over a month after being drafted by the Sky in the WNBA Draft, Boyette graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. The degree was not the only recognition Boyette received for her hard work in the classroom; she also earned the Provost Award her sophomore year for a semester with straight A’s, won the Texas Exes President’s Leadership Award this past year and was inducted into the school’s Friar’s Society.

The graduate had plenty of wisdom to impart on aspiring student athletes, and she was quick to stress the importance of a college education. “I just think it opens so many doors,” Boyette said. “In today’s economy, it’s hard to advance without a degree and beyond that, college is such a growing experience where you learn about yourself and so much more.” Boyette’s involvement at Texas didn’t stop in the classroom or on the court either; she was also a part of a campus club called Spitshine Poetry.

Though accounting may seem like an unlikely major for a rising WNBA star, Imani chose it because she likes working with numbers and she thinks it’s practical. “I will always have a job,” she added with a smile. Imani made the most out of UT’s large course selection, including some classes that weren’t quite what one would expect from an accounting major. Her favorite classes were Life and Death Decisions, where she studied how society forms laws in the face of ethical dilemmas, and Demagoguery, where she explored how rhetoric allowed terrible demagogues like Stalin and Hitler to rule, along with the Neo Nazis.

It is hard to imagine how someone could achieve so much in the classroom, on the court, and beyond, without burning out. “It [was] hard. I’m super type A, so I planned my days by the hour and I built a good rapport with my teachers,” Boyette stated. “My biggest motivation in the classroom came from the fact that I didn’t think I’d be in the WNBA. Failure wasn’t an option because I needed a job.”

Boyette’s ability to overcome adversity and maintain such an intense work ethic may be her greatest achievement. She points to a quote by inspirational author Mary Anne Radmacher that has kept her drive alive through life’s highs and lows: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.'” Boyette hopes to inspire young student-athletes everywhere telling them to “make the classroom your priority. Basketball will end someday, for some sooner than later. Education will only help you advance.”