Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.




 photos courtesy new york liberty

 

A lanky 14-year-old stood basking in the events of McKeesport’s International Village, a lively food and music festival, when a gentleman approached with a business card. Runways and magazine covers, he believed, were in store for this striking ninth-grader.

The cameras soon found Swin Cash. Spindly legs and all, she transformed into a noted regional print model. Next was a spot in New York City’s Fashion Week.
Was she destined to become America’s next top model? Not quite. Not with mom monitoring matters.

Cynthia Cash, who was a teenager when she gave birth to Swin, declared it was time to swap the high heels for high tops. The catwalk could wait for her photogenic daughter.

“A lot of people don’t know that story, other than my family,” Swin Cash says, reflecting on the events of 22 years ago. “It all happened so fast. Here I am, this skinny kid, and they say, ‘We have to shave your legs, fix your makeup ...’ I’m like, ‘What? I’m 14.’ It was getting serious. My mom said, ‘It’s time we focus on the sports side of things.’”

That prescient decision launched a basketball career entering its last months — in New York City, of all places. Cash, 36, is in her 15th and final WNBA season with the New York Liberty.

On June 7, she announced her retirement, effective at season’s end. She will leave the game ranked among the top 15 in WNBA history in scoring, rebounding, assists and games played.

No longer physically able to dominate as she did while winning two NCAA titles with the University of Connecticut, three WNBA championships and two Olympic gold medals, Cash has this season relied on her self-described “McKeesport mentality” as a key reserve for the Liberty, her fifth WNBA team.

“Her pride pushes her to keep playing this game,” Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer says. “She has a great desire to compete at the highest level at all times.”

This explains why she’ll selflessly dive into a scorer’s table for a loose ball, as she did in a game against Connecticut, or chase down a player 10 years her junior to block a shot, as she did in Phoenix.

“To watch her inspires me,” says teammate Tanisha Wright, a West Mifflin High School graduate. “[She] pretty much inspires everyone around her.”

Oh yes, that inspiration. The morning of April 22 underscores the point. It was 9:30 a.m. and Cash had just rung the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with her Liberty teammates. By 9:40 a.m., she was gone, racing to LaGuardia Airport, bound for McKeesport.

“Had to see my kids back home,” says Cash.
 


 

Those “kids” she refers to are participants in the Cash for Kids program, which Cash founded 11 years ago to educate and empower children with a focus on fitness. Upwards of 2,000 youngsters from McKeesport have benefited.

On this day, the basketball playoffs are in full swing for the 9- and 10-year-old group. Cash watches intently. She cheers for — and challenges — the young players. She hangs on every shot, pass and turnover.

This is where Cash says she is most at ease. It means more to her than the TV work she does with the New York Knicks, CBS Sports Network and Turner Television. It trumps her April selection as one of Sports Illustrated’s “50 Most Fashionable Athletes.” And it far surpasses her two WNBA All-Star game MVP awards.

A hug. A high-five. A massive smile. That’s all “Ms. Swin” needs from her kids.

“I made a promise that I would come and see them play, and it’s important to stay true to those promises,” Cash says. “To get a chance to put my arms around them, to talk to them, to listen to them and to encourage them, means everything to me. It was cool ringing the bell at the stock exchange, but the highlight of my day was being there with those kids in McKeesport.”

Back in New York, Cash is basking in her final run through the WNBA. She also is preparing for future success. A full-time TV job is a possibility, she says. Ditto for an executive position with a WNBA team. Motherhood remains a goal, too, for this recently married trendsetter.

“I’m truly humbled by my experiences,” Cash says. “Every day, I think about the people who believed in me, invested in me. They gave so much to me. It’s a great lesson. And it’s one I want to share with as many people as I can.
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Le Virtu Returns to Stagioni on May 1

The 49-ingredient soup is a culinary representation of the transition from winter to spring.

How to Plan a Great Overnight Pittsburgh-to-NYC Trip

You don't need to block off a big chunk of the calendar to plan a worthwhile one-night trip to New York.

The 10 Most Enjoyable Parts of the Pittsburgh Marathon

Runners who have conquered the entire 26.2 miles share their favorite stretches of the city-spanning race.

More than 270 Events Announced for Remake Learning’s 9-Day Festival

The festival has gained national attention for its innovative design.

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2018

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.

How Pittsburgh is Advancing the Care for the Young

Meet four physicians making breakthroughs in medical care to improve the lives of Pittsburgh’s children and adolescents.

‘Conversations’: 8 Interesting People Revive a Lost Art

We sit down with hockey coaches, college students, farmers and the mayors of two cities to see what they had to say.

Restaurant Review: Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette is a Sweet Success

Becca Hegarty’s establishment in Bloomfield blends contemporary sourcing with old-fashioned community for a simple yet satisfying neighborhood restaurant.

Avalanche of Info. Shouldn’t Confuse Steelers’ Draft Aspirations

The Steelers could choose a Hercules, a bouncer or a guy with a big butt that he can “anchor,” but can any of them catch a javelin?

After a Decade of Fun, A Strong Avengers Goes Dark

A spoiler-free review of "Avengers: Infinity War."

Watch: Boujee the French Bulldog Breaks Free

Juju Smith-Schuster’s dog makes some sweet aerial moves to get out of its cage.

A Bitter Pennsylvania Rivalry Is the Focus of a New Movie

Few questions spark such intense debate as “Wawa or Sheetz?” A local filmmaker hopes to answer which regional chain reigns supreme.

Kraft Heinz Squeezes Out New Ketchup with Vintage Taste

Can a recipe from 1896 still taste as good?

Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

The Junior League of Pittsburgh's Show House is a 112-year-old mansion featuring 28 rooms decorated by a different local design professionals.

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Owner Jeff Lenchner says a Discount Tire store will open in place of the store’s current location along McKnight Road in Ross Township.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


More than 270 Events Announced for Remake Learning’s 9-Day Festival

More than 270 Events Announced for Remake Learning’s 9-Day Festival

The festival has gained national attention for its innovative design.

Comments

Watch: Boujee the French Bulldog Breaks Free

Watch: Boujee the French Bulldog Breaks Free

Juju Smith-Schuster’s dog makes some sweet aerial moves to get out of its cage.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Le Virtu Returns to Stagioni on May 1

Le Virtu Returns to Stagioni on May 1

The 49-ingredient soup is a culinary representation of the transition from winter to spring.

Comments

First Look: Soju in Garfield

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Comments

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Comments


How to Plan a Great Overnight Pittsburgh-to-NYC Trip

How to Plan a Great Overnight Pittsburgh-to-NYC Trip

You don't need to block off a big chunk of the calendar to plan a worthwhile one-night trip to New York.

Comments

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Avalanche of Info. Shouldn’t Confuse Steelers’ Draft Aspirations

Avalanche of Info. Shouldn’t Confuse Steelers’ Draft Aspirations

The Steelers could choose a Hercules, a bouncer or a guy with a big butt that he can “anchor,” but can any of them catch a javelin?

Comments

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
After a Decade of Fun, A Strong Avengers Goes Dark

After a Decade of Fun, A Strong Avengers Goes Dark

A spoiler-free review of "Avengers: Infinity War."

Comments

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

Find out why these couples ditched the traditional guestbook and instead chose a drum head, a giant wooden letter and a dictionary for their guests to sign.

Comments

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

The Junior League of Pittsburgh's Show House is a 112-year-old mansion featuring 28 rooms decorated by a different local design professionals.

Comments

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Owner Jeff Lenchner says a Discount Tire store will open in place of the store’s current location along McKnight Road in Ross Township.

Comments